It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
Two titans of European football will face each other's wrath when Germany and Italy compete to secure a berth in the finals of Euro 2012. History tells us that the Italians have emerged victorious time and again, yet it seems to be a different ball game altogether this time around. Let's see how:
Italy has the upper hand when it comes to the head-to-head record between these teams. The Azzurri have won 14 matches in their last 30 encounters against the Germans. However, they've gone winless in the last 17 years of this rivalry.
This only means the Germans will come out all guns blazing to take on the Italians. What'll drive them in their quest? Their unbeaten run of 15 wins since two years, which saw them break the previous record of 14 wins held by Spain, Netherlands and France.
Meanwhile, the Italians have only managed tied scorelines at the end of regulation time in three of their last four games of Euro 2012--inculding the 4-2 penalty win over England. So if luck persists, they might pull off a similar result in the semis as well, and probably win it out in overtime.
But here's the catch: The Germans are better than good at it! They have missed only twice in the last 28 shootout encounters in which they've been involved. A baffling figure indeed! So, if the game does come down to a penalty shootout, this one will truly be a deathmatch.
The German squad is equipped with two ballistic players, Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez, both having scored 19 goals together in the last 15 games that they've played. The midfield will be dominated by Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski, while team captain Philipp Lahm will be on guard with Jerome Boateng.
The Italian side is led by goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon and will be guarded by Giorgio Chiellini and co., while Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi will be in the midfield. The attack will be led by Mario Balotelli and Antonio Di Natale.
This is a tough one to call, given that Italy have the upper hand in this rivalry and given the Germans' recent winning streak. However, for Italy there are injury concerns regarding Rossi and Ignazio Abate. This'll definitely put added pressure on the Italians.
Who are we pitching for? We'll go with the Germans. They are determined to nail this one, and look up to the task.
This game kicks off tonight at 00:15 IST.
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