Whether the German players are impressed or not by Italy’s performance in the quarterfinal against England, it doesn’t really matter. Germany are the favorites to win the semifinal clash, and their players seem to know that by the confidence some of them are showing in the pre-match interviews.
It’s not all perfect so far in the German camp, despite winning all four matches in the tournament so far. Philip Lahm, the captain, blasted away at whoever leaked the lineup before the Greece match. It took only one hour after Low made the decision to include Miroslav Klose, Marco Reus and Andreas Schurrle in the lineup before the German news agencies got hold of the information.
Lahm, who scored the opening goal for Germany in their 4-2 win over Greece, think Germany should be better in front of goal. Four goals apparently, weren’t enough. It was more about how they struggled to score early. Against defending teams, like Italy will be in Warsaw on Thursday, that could mean trouble later on in the match.
Whatever the lineup will be, it’s pretty obvious Mesut Ozil will be among the starters in the Semifinal against Italy. He hasn’t been always influential in this tournament, but was fantastic against Greece and the Netherlands, generally producing and delivering the goods so far in this tournament. Ozil feels that with all due respect to Italy, this is Germany’s match to take.
The other teams have great respect for us. Our goal is to bring the European title back to Germany. We are here for this. We can beat Italy and we want the title. Andrea Pirlo is a world-class player, Mario Balotelli is a great striker. But we do not think of the individual adversaries. Italy are a very compact team, but we can beat them.
Besides trying to avenge the loss to Italy in extra time from six years ago in the 2006 World Cup semifinal, there’s also Spain to consider when looking ahead at the final. It seems like everyone have already put the European champions, who have beaten Germany en route to their major titles in the last four years, ahead of Portugal already.
It would be wrong for me to say Germany against Spain would be a ‘dream final’. There are four teams in the semi-finals and we need to make the next step, which also applies to Spain. We’re fully concentrated on Italy and Italy only, and only then will we see who we play against. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Whether it’s Spain or Portugal.
But as much as Ozil might try to sound fair to all parties and sides, the truth is Germany would rather see Portugal than Spain. Any team would. Spain might not be a side that’ll attack or try to for 90 minutes, like Germany aspire to be, but they simply don’t lose the ball and hardly allow you any possession at all with their incredible pressure on the opponents midfield. Portugal? Germany have already beaten them in this tournament. Better the devil you know.