By Piero Fiorino & Richard Bowman
It’s Italy vs Germany, arguably the greatest European rivalry in soccer. Two of the most successful soccer nations in Europe are set to do battle for the ninth time in a major tournament. Despite, this being a rivalry it has actually been pretty one sided. Italy has won 4 and drew 4 against Germany in a major tournament. Germany has never beaten Italy in a major tournament before, yes you heard that correct. Within the past decade, Germany has suffered two traumatic losses to Italy. In the 2006 World Cup which was held in Germany, it was Italy who became the first international side to defeat Germany in Dortmund when Italy embarrassed Germany 2-0 in front of their own fans. Six years later, it was a similar result at EURO 2012. Italy jumped out to a 2-0 lead, with the final result being 2-1. Germany were big favorites heading into the second game and Italy was once again bounced Germany out of a major tournament. Germany has a chance to once again get revenge on Italy. Germany is clearly the more talented team, if the games were played on paper then Germany would automatically advance to the semifinals but they aren’t. Italy will look to once again to prove everyone wrong and beat another world class team.
Italy vs Germany
Germany has never defeated Italy in a tournament. Does this really help Italy going into the match-up?
Piero Fiorino: History tends to be a factor when it comes to the emotion of a game, but whether or not it will help or hurt the Azzurri is debatable. On the one hand, it can give the Italians the mojo they need heading into this game to take down this German team. On the other, though, it could make the Italians too comfortable and therefore complacent; resulting in what could be an avoidable loss.
Richard Bowman: I don’t think it’s the deciding factor in this one, but I do think it’ll always be in the back of every German coach and players mind until they finally get that much-needed win over Italy in a tournament setting. Germany is obviously still in the middle of their golden generation and despite what the FIFA rankings might say, Germany is the best international team in the world. Italy will need to bring their A-game if they want this one. Germany is a whole nother animal compared to Spain.
Player/Players Italy must stop if they want to pull off another big win?
Piero Fiorino: The whole team
Analysis: This is probably the best german squad the Italians have faced in a while, so there’s no reason to think there is any one player that needs to be focused in on. Rather, if the Italians hope to keep their unbeaten streak alive, they will have to not only focus in on each part of this German squad, but also capitalize on their chances against a very good GK in Manuel Neuer.
Richard Bowman: Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, and Julian Draxler
Analysis: Italy is going to put a lot of pressure on both Mesut Özil and Tony Kroos in the midfield, I’d be shocked if either one has a good game. It’ll be up to both Boateng and Hummels to deliver good entry passes for Germany, as well as for Draxler to put pressure on the Azzurri’s BBBC on the wing. If Italy can stop these three then don’t be surprised to see a similar result like the one we saw in Paris just a few days ago when Italy took it to Spain en route to a 2-0 victory for the Azzurri.
What must Italy improve on if they want to advance to the semi-final?
Piero Fiorino: Converting their chances.
Richard Bowman: Converting their chances(should have beat Spain 3-1 or 4-1).
Italy wins if…
Piero Fiorino: They don’t get too cute with their passes, and don’t get too aggressive when they don’t have the ball.
Richard Bowman: Take away Germany’s midfield and force their backend into mental mistakes.
Surprise player for Italy:
Piero Fiorino: Lorenzo Insigne
Richard Bowman: Stefano Sturaro
Man of the Match:
Piero Fiorino: Gianluigi Buffon
Richard Bowman: Emanuele Giaccherini
Italy vs Germany prediction:
Piero Fiorino: 2-1 Italy
Richard Bowman: 1-1 Germany(5-3 on PK’s)
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