A talented German side should have the firepower to defeat Italy and reach their second successive Euro final.
A talented German side should have the firepower to defeat Italy and reach their second successive Euro final, where they would again meet Spain.
In 2008 Germany were defeated 1-0 by Spain, Fernando Torres netting the only goal of the game in Vienna.
And history looks set to repeat itself, with Germany the favourites to book a final clash with the current World and European champions.
Italy have performed solidly this tournament, picking up 1-1 draws in each of their first group stage encounters.
An Antonio di Natale goal put the Italians ahead against Spain, before Cesc Fabregas equalised – Italy again took the lead against Croatia, this time through talisman Andrea Pirlo, before Mario Mandzukic earned the Croats a point.
And a comfortable 2-0 victory over the Republic of Ireland saw Italy book a quarter-final clash against Roy Hodgson’s England.
Italy enjoyed the lion’s share of possession against England with Pirlo able to dictate play, before finally securing a semi-final spot on penalties after a gruelling 120 minutes without a goal.
The Germans will be looking to take advantage of any potential Italian fatigue, and should also have learned from England’s failure to mark the influential Pirlo out of the match.
Joachim Löw’s Germany were the only side to qualify with maximum points from the group stages, defeating Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark.
In the quarter-final clash with surprise package Greece, Löw was able to rest several of his key attacking players and still secure progress to the semi-finals with a 4-2 win.
Germany will be desperate for success having been narrowly beaten by Spain in the Euro 2008 final, before finishing third at the World Cup in South Africa two years ago, with Spain defeating them 1-0 in the semi-finals.
Löw’s men play attacking football that is easy on the eye, but must be wary not to leave themselves open at the back.
Germany have conceded four times at Euro 2012, whilst Italy have only conceded twice. That said, Germany have scored nine compared to Italy’s four, proving their attacking capabilities.
Former Fiorentina boss Cesare Prandelli oversaw Italy’s qualification to the tournament where they only conceded twice in ten games under his management, emphasising their defensive solidity.
Despite this, I feel that with the likes of Lukas Podolski, Mario Gomez, Thomas Müller and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany should be able to defeat Italy, although it may come down to extra-time or penalties.
Score prediction: Germany 2-1 Italy
Link to www.absoluteradio.co.uk/euro2012.
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