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Euro 2012 semi-final preview: Germany v Italy

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Jun 2012

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Germany will look to end their winless run against Italy in major tournaments when the two meet in Thursday’s Euro 2012 semi-final.

The Germans have failed to beat Italy in seven previous attempts at major tournaments, the most recent being a 2-0 loss after extra-time at the 2006 World Cup.

It’s a run which has seen Germany taste victory just seven times in 30 fixtures and they are without success in 17 years, a run stretching back to 1995.

But the form shown by Joachim Loew’s side at these championships suggests the streak may be about to come to an end.

Since losing to eventual winners Spain in the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup, Germany have won 15 consecutive competitive fixtures, which include four wins at this year’s championships.

And the third-ranked side has netted nine goals in Poland and Ukraine, with four of those coming against Greece in the quarter-finals.

However, Italy will pose a far greater threat than the 2004 European champions.

To date, the Italians have conceded a mere two goals in four matches and held Spain to a 1-1 draw in their Euro 2012 opening fixture.

The most impressive aspect of Italy’s game has been the performances from experienced campaigner Andrea Pirlo.

Pirlo has put in a number of stellar showings, in particular his match against England, but don’t expect the midfield maestro to be given as much time and space on Friday.

This German side, boasting the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Oezil will enjoy extended periods of possession.

In terms of injury news, Italian centre back Giorgio Chiellini could make a return on Thursday having missed his nation’s quarter-final clash with a hamstring strain.

The Juventus defender said he could be fit and ready to play at Warsaw’s National Stadium.

“I feel better,” he said. “We’ll see in the next few days but I hope and I think that I can play on Thursday.”

For Germany, Schweinsteiger insists he feels 100 percent fit despite suffering from a number of niggling injuries.

“I’m very happy and I feel OK,” Schweinsteiger said. “I know how to deal with the situation. I’m looking forward to the game, and trying my best to be ready.

“I’m feeling better today (Monday). I feel fit enough to start, and I’m really eager to do so. When I say that I feel good, I mean it.”

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