Howedes: England showed that Italy are vulnerable at the back

The Schalke skipper accepts that La Nazionale are a strong side but has taken great encouragement out of the way in which Roy Hodgson's men troubled them on the break in Kiev
Germany defender Benedikt Howedes feels that England showed during their quarter-final clash with Italy that the Azzurri are vulnerable at the back.

Die Mannschaft will tackle Cesare Prandelli's side in Warsaw on Thursday and the Schalke captain has the utmost respect for La Nazionale.

However, after seeing a possession-starved England create numerous chances on the break in Kiev last Sunday, particularly during the first half, Howedes is in no doubt that Germany's semi-final opponents can be opened up.

"Italy are a good team, who also have some very good individuals," the 24-year-old told Der Westen.

"That the Italians are good defensively is well known. But we have also seen that England came close to scoring several times and Italy are vulnerable. The Italians are beatable."

Germany are the only side to have reached the last four with a 100 per cent record and while Howedes is actually of the opinion that they have not quite been at their best, he can understand why many pundits are now tipping them to win the tournament.

"Maybe we're not quite at the level that we have shown before," he mused. "Nevertheless, we have played well and are absolutely worthy of our semi-final place. There, we are favourites."

Howedes has yet to feature at all in his country's campaign and he freely admits that he has found it frustrating warming the bench.

"Of course it would be nicer if I was in the team," he acknowledged. "But I know the strength of this team and that makes it easier to accept.

"But I would be disappointed and sad if I don't play a single game at the European Championship. But if that happens, it happens. I'm probably not the only player who will leave here with zero minutes."

Germany's last-four encounter with Italy will get under way at 20:45CET in Warsaw.