Guangzhou Evergrande coach Marcello Lippi has labelled Germany as favourites to win Euro 2012.
Joachim Loew’s side were the only team in the tournament to win all their group matches as they managed to top the so-called ‘Group of Death’ and set up a quarter-final meeting with Greece on Friday.
When asked who he thought was the strongest team in the tournament so far, Lippi told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “Germany. (They have) class and personality.”
The 2006 World Cup-winning coach also praised striker Mario Gomez, who is joint-top scorer at the tournament with three goals along with Russia’s Alan Dzagoev and Mario Mandzukic of Croatia.
“Gomez is in a state of grace, if he has the ball, he scores goals. But there is not only Gomez, Die Mannschaft have many other weapons too,” Lippi said.
Switching his attentions to Italy’s fortunes, Lippi said they did well to beat the Republic of Ireland 2-0 and seal qualification for the knockout stages, but warned tougher tests lie ahead.
“We unlocked (Ireland) psychologically then finally found the goals through (Antonio) Cassano and (Mario) Balotelli,” he said.
“Now comes the hard part. The strength of rivals increases and the horizon is Germany.”