Germany will have to watch out against Italy, says Dino Zoff

The legendary Italian goalkeeper believes the Azzurri are a "strong inventive side" capable of beating Joachim Low's favourites in Thursday's last-four showdown
Dino Zoff believes Italy have a great chance of beating Germany in their upcoming Euro 2012 semi-final clash.

The 70-year-old, who won the European Championship in 1968, experienced the greatest moment of his international career in 1982 captaining the Azzurri to World Cup success with a 3-1 victory over West Germany in the final.

7/1 Germany are 7/1 to beat Italy 2-0 with bet365
Zoff was full of praise for the current Mannschaft squad, in particular striker Mario Gomez, but believes that Cesare Prandelli's team have proven they are strong enough to surprise Joachim Low's tournament favourites and march into the final.

“Italy have a great chance to progress further at this tournament," Zoff was quoted as saying on "Germany will have to watch out. The Azzurri are a strong inventive side. They can cause anybody problems, as they showed clearly once more against England.

“Germany are a well-balanced team with no weaknesses. Mario Gomez has impressed me so far. He’s a great player.

“They’ve delivered positive performances throughout. The only exception in my opinion was the game against Portugal. They came under more pressure there than against their other opponents.

In addition to their triumph in 1982, Italy also broke German hearts with an extra-time victory in the semi-finals of the 2006 World Cup.

And the former Juventus keeper believes the experience of Gianluigi Buffon will be key to his nation's fortunes at Euro 2012 and has backed the consistent selection of temperamental striker Mario Balotelli.

"Buffon, the goalkeeper and captain, all his experience came to the fore in the penalty shoot-out against England," Zoff added.

"Those are the moments when the whole team’s fate rests on the goalkeeper’s shoulders. But Buffon knows what it means to take responsibility.

"Balotelli is a fine striker, his performances are indisputably excellent. It's good that Prandelli is playing him so often."