Gennaro Gattuso is worried Italy’s undefeated record against Germany in international tournaments will come to an end at Euro 2012 on Thursday.
The veteran midfielder was a part of the side that defeated Germany in an epic last-four encounter at the 2006 World Cup but has his doubts over whether the current Italian team can emulate that success.
“This time I’m a little worried, as destiny is not enough.” Gattuso told Il Corriere della Sera. “Italy have a chance. But I do not trust the Germans.
“Look at (Mesut) Oezil: at Real (Madrid), he disappointed, but in the national team he’s devastating. Or (Lukas) Podolski, who limps around in the league and then, who knows how, becomes a champion.
“And (Manuel) Neuer, who was supposed to be the weak link, has been transformed into one of the strongest goalkeepers in the world.”
However, Gattuso feels it is Germany who need to figure out how to beat Italy – and not the other way round.
“They should be looking for a way to beat us seeing as they’ve never done it before,” the AC Milan legend reasoned.
“The semi-final in 2006 was supposed to be a passage to Berlin for them but they didn’t even take into the account the possibility that we might win.”
Gattuso takes heart from the fact that the man he played alongside that night in Dortmund, Andrea Pirlo, is still pulling the strings in the Azzurri midfield.
“When he turns on his light, everything becomes easier,” the 34-year-old said. “Have you heard the German press conferences? They all agree that their number one mission is to stop Pirlo.”
As for Mario Balotelli, Gattuso admits that, like everyone else, he does not know what to expect. He only hopes that the Manchester City striker will celebrate if he scores.
“Mario is crazy talented,” Gattuso said. “But he makes me furious when he scores and doesn’t celebrate.
“How can you be 21 and not be happy at certain times? But if he scores, I will celebrate in his place.”