Andrea Pirlo points the way for Italy
Can Italian ace Andrea Pirlo work his magic again against Germany? 7DAYS predicts...
There are big games, and then there are huge, enormous, so large you cannot put into words just how gargantuan they are, games.
Germany v Italy belongs in that second category.
This is a meeting of true European footballing aristocracy. In that sense it’s hardly surprising the disdain the Germans have treated their lesser opponents so far. But do Italy have what it takes to bring them down a peg or two and rule once again?
Keen for a challenge, and ready to put their necks on the line, 7DAYS sports boys try to answer that question...
Form so far - Impressive. They may have been dumped in the ‘Group of Death’ but you wouldn’t have known it such was the ease they suffocated their rivals. In the quarter-final against Greece they looked clinical.
Why they can win - A bit obvious this one: they are far and away the team of the tournament so far. Haven’t really looked in trouble in any of their matches and you get the feeling that if they’re given a good battle tonight they can easily go up a gear or two. Against Greece, Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez were all dropped for Andre Schurrle, Marco Reus and Miroslav Klose. The result of that decision was more impressive than the guts it took to make. The squad is packed full of both talent and goals and while they’ve been great going forward, it’s their dynamic defender Mats Hummels who, along with the ever-dependable Mesut Ozil, has really caught the eye.
Why they can’t win - They’ve never beaten Italy in seven attempts at Major tournaments and while this team is good, it is yet to get its hands on silverware. Looked very impressive in South Africa two years ago before being easily defeated by Spain and doubts will surely remain. At 1-0 in the Greece game they looked ‘vulnerable’, the defence isn’t as water-tight as Joachim Loew would like and against the better Italian attack could be put under more pressure than at any time this month.
Form so far - The Azzurri have played well without really standing out. Looked more than a match for Spain in their Group C opener and against England showed they can attack as well as defend.
Why they can win - This has been a typically understated campaign from Italy. They’ve slowly, but surely, gone about their business and look as menacing as in 2006, when without really impressing they went all the way and won the World Cup. In their side they have the player of the tournament. Andrea Pirlo (left) has been brilliant so far and Germany will have to deal with him far better than England did to dominate. If he is given the freedom of Warsaw then he will hurt the Germans.
Why they can’t win - As good as the Italians have been so far, you get the sense they’ve revealed their hand already and if they are as profligate in front of goal as they were against England then they don’t have a hope. Also, as good as Pirlo is he cannot do it all by himself, and if he’s dealt with by Germany then it’s hard to see where the chances are going to come from. The side will be drained after extra-time and penalties against England and won’t have the energy to take on the toughest team in the tournament.
7DAYS predicts...Germany to be too strong and win by two goals in 90 minutes.