Germany vs Italy

In the third of the Euro 2016 quarterfinals, Germany will face Italy in Bordeaux.

History

  • Germany are three time champions of the competition, winning it in 1972, 1980 and 1996. They were runners-up in 2008 (losing to Spain) and lost in the semifinal four years ago, against Italy
  • Italy have won the Euro once, back in 1968. They’ve been to the final twice since then, losing to France in 2000 and against Spain four years ago

Road to the quarterfinals

  • Germany are the only team that hasn’t conceded a goal. They beat the Ukraine and Northern Ireland in the group stage while drawing with Poland. In the round of 16, they had no problems against Slovakia, winning 3-0
  • Italy finished second in their group, beating Belgium and Sweden but losing to Ireland. In the round of 16, they put in arguably the best of performances, beating Spain 2-0

Down to business

The most resounding stat hanging over this match is Germany never beating Italy in a major tournament: Four draws, four losses, all of them in knockout stage matches. The last one, famously, in Euro 2012, when Italy stunned Germany with a Mario Balotelli brace. Germany have made the semifinal (or later) of the last six international competitions, twice losing to Italy in that timeframe. And unlike four years ago, it’s hard to say they look like convincing favorites.

Yes, their performance against Slovakia was their best of the tournament, but there were too many worrying moments during the group stage. Italy have shown incredible tactical awareness and flexibility throughout this tournament, even surprising Spain with some possession based minutes of dominance in their impressive round of 16 win. Antonio Conte will probably try and experiment some more against Germany, relying on the Juventus-based defense he has, with Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and above all of them, Leonardo Bonucci.

Germany are stronger physically and have the talent and athletic edge as well. However, if they once again struggle to create any fluidity in their game, which is something Italy specialize in interferring with, this might end up being another frustrating encounter for the Germans against maybe their oldest and most difficult rivals.

Image: Source