Unbeaten Germany and Italy both enter into the semi-final match after Italy beat England in a penalty shoot-out. Let’s hope this is a better match than Italy vs. England and Spain vs. France. It deserves to be, and, based on the German team’s progress so far, probably will be.
The last time these two teams met, they shared two goals. The biggest differences, however, were Giuseppe Rossi leading the Azzurri and Giorgio Chiellini at the back. They will be sweating on the fitness of their centre-back to stifle Gomez or Klose. After their win against England through penalties, Italy will face the team to beat at Euro 2012 semifinal, the Germany midfield quality is very good, there is a balance between Khedira, Ozil and Sweinsteiger, while the Italian pedestal is fixed on two midfielders Andrea Pirlo and De Rossi. Pirlo was able to successfully develop and hold on to the midfield in the game against England, but it will be different against the Germans.
England did not play optimally during the match against Italy in the quarterfinals, in contrast Germany, in the four matches that they have played so far, have shown creativity and aggression in the wings, with both Lahm and Boateng shoring up the defense and the attack. Italy, who needed penalties to beat England following a 0-0 draw after extra time in the quarter-finals, have scored a mere four goals in their last seven games. I predict that Italy, including, Balotelli will find it very difficult to play up front as the German team has shown great strength and tactical planning, which makes the Germans more likely to advance to the Finals.
Germany got an easy win over Greece with 4-2 score to go through the semi-finals,and, with better understanding and ability to play the modern attacking game will probably have the Italians on their heels throughout the contest. Germany‘s top striker, Mario Gomez will pose a major threat up-front with his size and skill (particularly through the air). I believe that Germany will pull away eventually but it definitely will need an immense amount of effort from both ends of the pitch. Germany, however, have a poor record against Italy with just seven wins in 30 fixtures, against 14 to the Italians, and no victories in the past 17 years. We should expect a grimy game (instigated by the Italians of course) with Germany slithering through in the end.
Italy‘s defence has held firm at Euro 2012, conceding just two goals in four games. Only Spain’s Cesc Fabregas and Croatia’s Mario Mandzukic have scored against them, both in 1-1 draws in the group stage. Italy need to outscore the Germans and if they manage to force a draw, the penalty shoot-out may put the result on their side.
Road to semi-finals:
Portugal 1-0 Match 1 Spain 1-1
Netherlands 2-1 Match 2 Croatia 1-1
Denmark 2-1 Match 3 Ireland 2-0
Greece 4-2 England 0-0 (4-2 on Penalties)
Head to head Germany vs Italy:
July 4, 2006 Germany 0-2 Italy (World Cup qualifier)
March 1, 2006 Germany 1-4 Italy (trial)
Aug 20, 2003 Germany 0-1 Italy (trial)
So What’s likely to happen in Today’s game?
It is likely to be one of those boring games, a battle of attrition at least during the first half. The German team may pick up pace post the 70th minute and score a couple of goals to put the match beyond Italy. Do watch out for a high number of warnings and Yellow cards.
Prediction: Germany 2-0 Italy.
German victory: 55%
Italian victory: 15%
(In case of Penalty Shoot out – I favor Italy)