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Italy set for Chiellini boost

SoccerNews in European Championships, Serie A 25 Jun 2012

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Giorgio Chiellini is optimistic that he will be able to make his return from injury in Italy’s Euro 2012 semi-final clash with Germany.

The Juventus defender missed Sunday’s quarter-final against England after suffering a hamstring strain in the Azzurri’s final outing in Group C, against Republic of Ireland.

However, Chiellini revealed after watching his team-mates’ dramatic penalty shootout success in Kiev against England that he could be fit to face the Germans in Warsaw on Thursday.

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

Chiellini is understandably desperate to be available for the game as he knows full well that the Azzurri are going up against a terrific side in Germany.

“It’ll be very difficult,” he acknowledged. “But then, that’s normal. In the semi-finals, all the teams are always very strong.

“But we’ll have to prepare well in the next few days. We have seen Germany play and they have now won 15 matches in a row. They are the strongest team in Europe, along with Spain.”

However, Chiellini has the utmost faith in Italy, arguing that they have already proven in their group games against Spain and Croatia that they have what it takes to mix it up with the best the tournament has to offer.

“We have quality,” he said. “We know that Germany are a good team, with good players. But we have been playing very well since the first game (against Spain). We drew but we played very well. We had some chances.

“I think we have to improve to make the final. But we have played well so far. I have high hopes for us. I think we will play a good game.”

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