Following their rightful demolishing of Greece last week, Germany will hope to end their losing streak against Italy to meet tournament co-favourites Spain in the finals. Germany have never defeated the Italians in a competitive match, but this is a German team unlike any other who Italy have met before, one with a real sense of unity and a refined game, with the highest amount of goals scored in the tournament thus far (nine).
Italy had a tough, long game against England and have had two days less than the Germans in order to prepare for their semi-final. Facing this German squad is an intimidating prospect even without doing so with a set of tired legs, but this is the hurdle which Italy must jump over. Their performance against England was good if not convincing, with Balotelli unable to capitalise on the myriad chances laid out in front of him, eventually leading to the outcome being decided by the dreaded penalty shootout. However, an awe-inspiring performance from Andrea Pirlo in the midfield will surely give the Italian supporters some hope to cling onto in what should be a difficult match.
Manager Joachim Loew: "Pirlo is an exceptional player, with good ideas. He's the one who directs the game, so we have to stop him and get in his radius. We have to think of a way to play better than Italy in midfield and dictate the tempo of the match. We will not let Italy show us how to play football. It's a confidence thing. We have to be cheeky, we have to be strong and brave. I know it will be very tight. We are well prepared, we know our strengths and we're in a position to get in the final by beating Italy."
Manager Cesare Prandelli: "When I close my eyes and dream, I always dream of fantastic things. I will dream about a wonderful, fantastic evening. We're all fit both mentally and physically. I don't think we can have any negative thoughts. We can't think we're even a little bit tired. All the ingredients are there to make sure we feel as we did a few days ago. We need to work on how we move around the pitch and free up a key player like (Claudio) Marchisio, (Daniele) De Rossi or (Riccardo) Montolivo. We're ready to be pressed high up the pitch and know what we have to do to counteract this. They have a very defined style of play and we know what their strengths are."
While Italy have an accomplished record against Germany, their inability to take advantage of superb passes from their midfield is what should give Germany the edge, who unlike almost all of the teams in Euro 2012, haven't had a problem with getting the ball in the back of the net. Although history would dictate that Italy should take this one, it is firmly expected that Germany will sail into the finals to take on the Spaniards.
Germany 5/6, Draw 12/5, Italy 18/5
Header Image: Sky Sports