One of the most historical encounters in world football will be complemented with another chapter in its history, when Germany and Italy clash in an UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final match on Thursday. Both teams are aiming high on their mission to gain European glory, but the Germans would need to shake off jinx in Warsaw.
Germany has never defeated the Italians in the finals of a FIFA World Cup or UEFA EURO. But there is a feeling that this year could be the one, which would see some magical football from Joachim Löw’s side to claim a win against the “Squadra Azzurra”.
But Löw is fully aware of the tough challenge ahead and he is not expecting an easy match against Cesare Prandelli’s team. “The four best teams have made it to the semis and all of them deserve it. These four teams have impressed the most from a footballing point-of-view. The standard is pretty high and it will be also a question of luck,” Löw told at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
“Italy is a completely different calibre than Greece. Hopefully we will be able to wear it out in the second half with our pacy game. That would play into my hands,” said Löw.
The experienced coach is not looking back the history lane and he is not giving any weight to the match with respect of the severe defeat to the Italians in the 2006 FIFA World Cup semi-final. “We have improved and advanced a lot since 2006. The players have matured so much and we have also brought in new players.”
Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger supported his coach’s statement and added: “It is the time to beat the next biggie. We have defeated England, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and the Netherlands. And now we want to beat Italy!”
The German public is waiting eagerly for a major title since Germany won the UEFA EURO 1996 in England. “Reaching the final would give us the chance to finally win a major title after finishing second and third on so many occasions,” Germany fan André Wünsche told. “We were gutted in 2000, but our excellent youth development programme has brought us back to the top of world football.”
“I would have preferred to play against England”, his compatriot Benedikt Heptner admitted. “We have a better record against the Englishmen. But no matter, if England or Italy – these matches are always derbies for us and I love them!”
In contrast to Joachim Löw, the German public is still suffering from the 2006 World Cup loss at the own backyard and there is some roar to take revenge for the defeat. “Bowing out at Dortmund in 2006 has badly hurt me. This would be the ideal platform to take some revenge,” Heptner made clear.
“We have a score to settle with the Italians,” André Wünsche underlined the statement by his fellow Germany fan.
The “Mannschaft” looks confident ahead of the clash of the European titans and their fans are keeping their fingers crossed. Germany is hoping to have a fiesta on Sunday in the UEFA EURO 2012 final, which could be a final against mighty Spain and the chance to defeat another arch-rival…