Germany may be considered favourites in their semi-final clash with Italy, but it is worth pointing out that die Mannschaft have failed to beat the Azzurri in last six meetings at major tournaments.
The 2010 World Cup semi-finalists arrived to Poland and Ukraine as one of the main candidates for the trophy and they have so far showed enough to justify all the hype.
While Joachim Low’s side did not really dazzle in the group stage, their impressive defensive showings and intelligent play helped the team win all three group games and earn a quarter-final tie against poor Greece.
The talented coach shocked everyone by leaving attacking trio of Gomez, Podolski and Muller on the bench, but their replacements did a brilliant job and scored two goals in the 4-2 victory over Greece.
Having won all four games at the tournament, the Germans are now 1.93 (13/14) favourites with 188BET to win this game in regular time, but beating in-form Italy will be no easy task.
It is almost certain that both Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus will keep their place in the side following an impressive performance against Greece, although Andre Schurrle is expected to make way for Lukas Podolski.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is expected to start despite struggling with an ankle injury, but his poor fitness could prove to be a problem.
Probable starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Neuer – Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm – Schweinsteiger, Khedira – Reus, Ozil, Podolski – Klose.
Italy experienced major problems during their preparations for the Euro 2012, and they were subsequently written off even before the tournament started.
Nonetheless, Cesare Prandelli’s side not only managed to qualify from the group stage, but they did so while playing attractive attacking football, something that was completely new to all Azzurri fans.
The former Fiorentina boss opted to focus on team’s attacking qualities while retaining the good balance in the side and such an approach has yielded excellent results.
Team’s magnificent performance against England was the perfect proof that Italy are now more than capable of outplaying top European sides, while players’ nerves of steel helped them win the quarter-final tie on penalties after they were very unfortunate not to win in regular time.
After already outclassing sides like Spain and England, nobody can afford to write off the Azzurri before the clash with Germany, and I see a great value in odds of 3.20 (11/5) offered by Stan James on Italy to qualify.
Cesare Prandelli has fitness doubts over Ignazio Abate, Daniele De Rossi and Giorgio Chiellini, but all three players should be in contention for this crunch encounter. Christian Maggio is suspended.
Probable starting line-up (4-3-1-2): Buffon – Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Balzaretti – De Rossi, Pirlo, Marchisio – Montolivo – Balotelli, Cassano.