AN Italian chef who has welcomed football stars to his restaurant will be cheering on his home country when England and Italy meet in the World Cup tomorrow (June 14).

Football-loving Francesco Obinu, owner of Sardis, in Darlington, is backing Italy to win, but superstition prevents him revealing the score by which he thinks the Azzuri will beat Roy Hodgson’s men.

Despite his preference for Cesare Prandelli’s outfit, Mr Obinu hopes both sides will qualify for the knock-out phase of the competition.

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Sardis opened its doors to the England football team, ahead of a friendly in Middlesbrough, in 2004.