Joachim Low had a suspicion Germany would meet Italy in the Euro 2016 knockout stages after the world champions thrashed Antonio Conte’s men 4-1 in March.
Italy were comprehensively beaten in that friendly in Munich but Low is not surprised Conte has managed to transform the Azzurri from seemingly rank outsiders into genuine title contenders in just over three months.
“I thought it back then because the Italians recover from a loss like that, they are not influenced by it,” he said of the prospect of the teams meeting at the competition following that eye-catching result.
“We know the Italians, they grow as a unit at tournaments like this. They have got very good players, several of whom know each other from playing together at Juventus.
“Friendlies are not decisive games, we’ve seen that a couple of times in preparation games. In 2014 we did many things wrong [shortly before they won the World Cup] but the most important thing is what happens in a tournament.”
Germany have yet to concede in their four games at Euro 2016 and Low is hoping for another efficient performance in Bordeaux.
“We have analysed Italy and seen their other games,” he said. “They don’t have only defensive qualities, they have good solutions in attack as well.
“Their side has great quality and, for us, it will be a balance between defence and attack. We must not commit mistakes and we must take our chances when they come as we may not get as many as we did against Northern Ireland.”
After a week of analysis, Low claims his players are well drilled and know what to expect.
“It’s about details,” he said. “We will talk to the players on Saturday but they are already aware of what is going to happen.
We have ideas but there are many mechanisms in our game that are automatic.
“We are confident because we know our strengths but it is about the opposition as well. We must consider our own game but also the opposition’s.
“The players are very relaxed but when we get to this stage before a game the tension rises. Every game we know could be the last. The side has worked with a lot of concentration but there have also been moments of relaxation, so it’s all about balance.”