Germany vs Italy for a place in the 2012 Euro final
Can Germany beat Italy for the first time ever in a competitive match to reach the final of Euro 2012?
It may come as a surprise to many to learn that Germany have never beaten Italy in a competitive match. To think that any team could hold such a record over Germany is almost unimaginable, but there it is. However, records are there to be beaten and I will be very surprised if this particular record doesn’t end tonight.
The two teams run up to the final couldn’t have been different. Italy have drawn three (winning one on penalties) and have only won one game, against Ireland who at times gave them a scare. Whilst you can excuse a draw against world champions Spain, they struggled against Croatia and were unable to finish off an England team that were nowhere near their match, which forced extra time and a penalty shoot out, something Italy could ill afford with only a 4 day gap until their semi-final.
For Germany, the tale has been different. Clinical in their performances with wins over Denmark, Portugal and Holland in the most difficult of all groups. They then went on to dispatch Greece with relative ease inside 90 minutes to ensure a place in the semis and some fresh legs after a 6 day break.
What is more, when Germany have been under pressure, for small periods they have dealt with it in typical German style, without any panicking or change to their formation. Their performances against the Dutch and Portuguese during the closing periods of their games being particularly impressive and a sign of a team in form and brimming with confidence.
With Italy it is simple to pick out their player of the tournament thus far and it has come as no surprise that Pirlo has been the man to watch. However, it is difficult to see how he will be able to make the same impact tonight as he did against England with the German midfield playing the way it is, and as for his claim that “they are afraid of us – we are at the level of Spain” urm… well, no they aren’t and no you’re not. Italy may have drawn with Spain during the opening week, but if they were to play them tonight the outcome would be quite different.
If Italy had one glimmer of hope it was that Bastian Schweinsteiger was injured, but after him being declared 100% fit it looks like a
full strength Germany will be taking to the pitch tonight.
Germany are looking better and better all the time and with the momentum they are building should beat Italy tonight. They are also playing some exciting football and whilst they may not have been the most enthralling team to watch in the 90s, they are a different team now.
Another difference between the two teams is the way they have begun games. Whilst Italy have been slow to get going, Germany have been quick out of the blocks and this is something that is likely to continue tonight. The teams conversion ratio is also likely to make a difference with Germany’s being 3 times as good as their opponents.
Its difficult to see Italy winning this tie tonight and I for one fully expect a repeat of the 2008 final where we saw Spain and Germany clash the last time.
Prediction -Germany 2-0 Italy