Germany - Italy Preview: German juggernaut out to end Azzurri jinx in semi-final clash
Joachim Low's in-form side will be aiming to defy history and secure their first ever competitive victory over the 1968 winners in Warsaw's National Stadium on Thursday
By Karthick Arvinth
Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm
Reus, Ozil, Schurrle
Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Balzaretti
Marchisio, Pirlo, Nocerino
Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has overcome a lingering ankle problem and will be available for his country's semi-final showdown with Italy.
Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan, who is yet to make an appearance at Euro 2012, suffered a knock to his ankle during training on Saturday and is a minor doubt.
Coach Joachim Low may opt to tinker with his line-up again after completely overhauling his forward line for the quarter-final win over Greece.
Veteran striker Miroslav Klose is likely to retain his place up front ahead of Mario Gomez, while midfielder Lars Bender may get the nod over Jerome Boateng at right-back.
Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini has returned to training after a hamstring injury and could return to the starting line-up in place of his Juventus team-mate Leonardo Bonucci.
Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli is also sweating over the fitness of Daniele De Rossi and Ignazio Abate after the duo picked up muscle injuries in the penalty shoot-out victory over England, while Christian Maggio is suspended.
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta has recovered from a thigh problem and may return to the side in place of Riccardo Montolivo.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Germany have won a record 15 successive competitive games, breaking the 14-match international record previously held by Spain (2010-11), Netherlands (2008-10) and France (2002-04).
- Die Mannschaft have never beaten Italy in a competitive fixture. Their record in seven head-to-head meetings in major tournaments is D4, L3.
- Three-time champions Germany have won all but one of their six European Championship semi-finals.
- Joachim Low's side have scored at least once in each of their last 20 games.
- Italy have won just one of their last seven matches in regulation time.
- The Azzurri are meeting Germany for the 31st time, with their record in previous encounters reading W14, D9, L7. They have not lost to the Germans since a 2-0 friendly defeat in June 1995.
- Italy are yet to lose a competitive game under Cesare Prandelli, recording nine wins and five draws to date.
- Andrea Pirlo (pictured right) attempted 146 passes in the quarter-final against England, completing 117 - the most by any player at Euro 2012, extra-time included.
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Top 3 Predictions
Germany 1-2 Italy
- 18.83 %
Germany 2-1 Italy
- 16.68 %
Germany 2-0 Italy
- 10.91 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Nov 15, 2013||Italy 1 - Germany 1|
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Jun 28, 2012||Germany 1 - Italy 2|
|International Friendlies (FR)||Feb 9, 2011||Germany 1 - Italy 1|
|World Cup Qualification 2006 (WC)||Jul 4, 2006||Germany 0 - Italy 2|
|International Friendlies (FR)||Mar 1, 2006||Italy 4 - Germany 1|
|Nov 19, 2013||England 0 - Germany 1||FR|
|Nov 15, 2013||Italy 1 - Germany 1||FR|
|Oct 15, 2013||Sweden 3 - Germany 5||WCQ|
|Oct 11, 2013||Germany 3 - Ireland 0||WCQ|
|Sep 10, 2013||Faroe Islands 0 - Germany 3||WCQ|
|16||Daniele De Rossi||Midfielder|
|-||Morgan De Sanctis|
|-||Antonio Di Natale|
The 27-year-old has been struggling with an ankle injury and looked uncharacteristically wasteful in possession against Greece. With the Italian midfield packed with skillful passers of the ball, the Bayern Munich star will be under pressure to cover plenty of ground and set the rhythm and tempo of the team in the middle of the park.
The veteran midfielder gave a masterclass performance in the quarter-final as he pulled England apart all night with an endless tide of precise passes. If Germany are to succeed, their midfield will have to do a much better job than its English counterpart at restricting space and time for Pirlo to pick passes to the forward line.
It is very difficult to look past Germany: they have been the most dominant team in the tournament and they have had 48 hours more rest than Italy, which is a big advantage. The Italians were too good for an average English side but overcoming Germany's high intensity football will prove a whole lot tougher.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed