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Chiellini confident of being fit to face Germany

The versatile Juventus center-back strained his left hamstring midway through the second half of the Azzurri's 2-0 victory over Republic of Ireland in their final group game

Giorgio Chiellini is optimistic that he will be able to make his return from injury in Italy's Euro 2012 semifinal clash with Germany on Thursday.

The Juventus defender missed Sunday's quarterfinal against England after suffering a hamstring strain in the Azzurri's final outing in Group C, against Republic of Ireland.

However, Chiellini revealed after watching his teammates' dramatic penalty shoot-out success in Kiev that he could be fit to face the Germans in Warsaw.

"I feel better," the versatile centre-back told reporters in the mixed zone. "We'll see in the next few days but I hope and I think that I can play on Thursday."

Chiellini is understandably desperate to be available for the game as he knows full well that the Azzurri are going up against a terrific side in Germany.

"It'll be very difficult," he acknowledged. "But then, that's normal. In the semi-finals, all the teams are always very strong. But we'll have to prepare well in the next few days. We have seen Germany play and they have now won 15 matches in a row. They are the strongest team in Europe, along with Spain."

However, Chiellini has the utmost faith in Italy, arguing that it has already proven in its group games against La Roja and Croatia that it has what it takes to mix it up with the best the tournament has to offer.

"We have quality," he declared. "We know that Germany are a good team, with good players. But we have been playing very well since the first game [against Spain]. We drew but we played very well. We had some chances.

"I think we have to improve to make the final. But we have played well so far. I have high hopes for us. I think we will play a good game."

Italy's clash with old rivals Germany will get under way in the Polish capital at 2:45 p.m. ET.

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