Germany v Italy Preview
Tonight sees the 2nd semi final in the 2012 European Championships when Germany take on Italy in Warsaw with Spain awaiting the winners.
It promises to be an exciting encounter like most have been when these two countries have met.
Both sides have looked impressive so far and it could be a great game if past meetings as well as current results are anything to go by.
Germany won all their games in their group to qualify and have since won all 3 group games against tough opponents Portugal, Holland and Denmark and then their quarter final against Greece to win through. They came into the tournament as one of the big favourites and nothing has changed to make them less so and are currently top scorers with 9 goals having conceded 4.
Their opponents Italy meanwhile have scored 4 and have conceded just 2
Italy’s results haven’t been quite as commanding but have still been impressive and they are not to be underestimated. They are unbeaten throughout the whole campaign where they easily won their qualifying group and then started in the finals with a tough game against holders Spain. But unlike a lot of their opponents they had a lot of possession and created a few good scoring chances and came away with a 1-1 draw. This was also their result against Croatia before winning their final group game against Republic of Ireland to qualify for the quarter final. They came up against England and were the superior team throughout but were unable to score so after 90 minutes and a further 30 minutes extra time with no goals Italy got through via a tense penalty shoot out.
Although Germany have scored most goals Italy have certainly created enough chances of their own and with a bit more composure shown in front of goal they could easily have had a few more.
Although both squads are filled with quality players 2 who really stand out are Germanys Bastian Schweinsteiger and Italy’s Andrea Pirlo. Both are capable of dictating play and creating great chances for their team. Whoever plays best between them could well decide the whole contest.
It is certainly possible that tiredness could be a big issue in this game.
Italy played a hard game against England in their quarter final which went to extra time a full 2 days after Germany had a much easier game against Greece.
But going on the history of this fixture Italy have a fantastic chance.
So far the countries have met on 7 occasions in tournament matches going back 50 years and amazingly Germany have yet to win.
So if the German players allow this to play on their minds it could well become a mental problem for them to overcome.
All these games have been very close right enough. They met twice in World Cup groups in 1962 and 1978 and both games finished 0-0, and twice in European Championship groups and there was another 0-0 draw in 1996 and a 1-1 draw in 1988 when current Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini scored his first goal for Italy.
The other three games were all World Cup knock out matches and Italy won them all, although 2 of them also finished level after 90 minutes and needed extra time. They met in a fantastic game in the 1970 semi final and after finishing 1-1 there was an unbelievable 5 goals in extra time as Italy won 4-3 and then in the semi final of 2006 when after finishing 0-0 Italy scored 2 goals right at the end of extra time to win through.
The only tournament game between them that has seen a winner after 90 minutes was the biggest of them all- the World Cup Final. When they met in 1982 the Paolo Rossi inspired Italians won 3-1 to take the trophy.
So whatever happens with this next match if it is even half as good as these classics it would be extremely memorable.