By Daniel Jovanov
Former Germany defender Christian Worns has praised Italy's performances at Euro 2012 so far and admitted that Cesare Prandelli's side have surprised him by reaching the semi-final while playing an attacking brand of football.
The Azzurri have impressed many observers in Poland and Ukraine, progressing from a group that contained Spain and Croatia before winning their last-eight tie against England to set up a semi-final with die Nationalelf.
Worns, who made 66 appearances for his country, feels that the Italians are a force to be reckoned with and praised their adventurous style of play.
"Italy's game against Spain was the best that Euro 2012 has provided"
"They play attacking football, which isn't typical of an Italian team. They're very awkward opponents to play against."
In addition to the 2006 World Cup winners, Worns has also been impressed by his compatriots, who he feels have improved by leaps and bounds over the last two years.
Germany fell at the semi-final stage of the 2010 World Cup but are fancied to take another stab at success by booking their place in the final on Thursday.
"Germany took maximum points from a group with teams like Portugal, Netherlands and Denmark. This is was not simple," he continued.
"Overall, the team has matured and become more calm since the last tournament. Their development has been very positive. They're the best of the past few years.
"I'm crossing my fingers for the team. Small details will decide the game."
Germany and Italy will lock horns at 20:45CET on Thursday, with the winner set to take on Spain in Sunday's final.