Germany vs Italy – Quarter final – 8pm (BBC) – 02.07.16 – Matmut Atlantique, Bordeaux
Statistically speaking, Germany enter the quarter finals as the best team so far at this year’s European Championships.
Six goals scored without reply over a four match unbeaten run, Joachim Low’s side have displayed a typically efficient German performance in each game they’ve played at this tournament.
Their group stage 0-0 draw with Poland was sandwiched between 1-0 and 2-0 wins over Ukraine and Northern Ireland, respectively.
The worry as Germany progressed through the group stages was their lack of firepower, relying on out-of-sorts Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez to tuck away the goals.
Muller hasn’t scored in 9 games at the Euros and one cannot say that Gomez is playing at the same level as the rest of the Germany team.
But German goals can come from all over the pitch and Slovakia, into the last 16 by virtue of their third placed finish in Group B, were swatted aside 3-0 in the Round of 16 by the current world champions, who are looking to emulate Spain with back-to-back international tournament wins.
Centre back Jerome Boateng opened the scoring with a 20 yard volley, while midfielder Julian Draxler rounded off the scoring with a close range finish after Gomez had doubled Die Mannschaft’s lead.
Germany’s ability to completely shut out their opponents, dominate possession and seemingly create chances at will is their greatest asset and they will need to hold on to that going forward.
Saturday’s opponents Italy, however, will arguably the toughest side Germany have had to overcome at the tournament so far.
Seemingly coasting through to the Round of 16 after 2-0 and 1-0 wins against Belgium and Sweden, a last gasp Robbie Brady header saw Gli Azzurri end the group stages with a loss against Republic of Ireland, though Antonio Conte’s men still finished top of Group E, setting up a Round of 16 meeting with current holders Spain.
The most impressive facet of Italy’s performances in this competition has been their ability to approach each game with a well rehearsed tactical plan, tailored to suit their opponent.
Against Spain, Conte already had the advantage of seeing Croatia put La Roja to the sword and beat them 2-1 in their final group match.
The soon-to-be Chelsea manager’s masterplan was executed to perfection and through excellent deployment of his fullbacks Italy rode out as 2-0 winners, though it could have been much more were it not for a string of impressive saves from David De Gea.
In Germany vs Italy, we will see two of the most tactically astute managers and sides in the world coming up against each other.
Though there is a potential risk of this being an unstoppable force vs an immovable object, I think both teams will fight tooth and nail to secure a place in a semi final against either France or Iceland.
Recommendation: Both teams to score at 2.20
Italy to win and both teams to score at 9.50
Belgium, France, Germany & Portugal All to Win in 90 mins at 12.00
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- Germany have never beaten Italy at a major tournament (D4 L4). Worse still, they have lost all four of their games against Italy in the knockout stages
- Germany and Italy’s last encounter was earlier this year on 29 March: Joachim Low’s men won 4-1 in Munich.
- 15 of the 18 goals scored in Germany and Italy’s previous eight encounters at major tournaments have come after half-time, including seven in extra-time
- Germany have reached the semi-finals in their last five major tournaments
- Germany have won 14 of their last 17 games at major tournaments, drawing two and losing one (1-2 v Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-finals)
- Germany are the only team yet to concede a single goal so far at Euro 2016. They haven’t conceded a goal in the last 480 minutes and the last player to score past Manuel Neuer was Oscar in the 2014 World Cup semi-final.
- Germany have averaged 69% possession over their first four games
- Italy have kept 19 clean sheets in 37 European Championship games, more than any other team in the history of the tournament
- Italy have picked up more cards than any other team at Euro 2016
- Italy have already won three games at Euro 2016 (shoot-outs excluded), their highest tally in a Euro tournament since Euro 2000
- Thomas Müller hasn’t scored a single goal in nine games at the Euros. He has 10 goals in 13 World Cup games.
- Mario Gomez has scored the joint-most goals for Germany at the Euros alongside Jürgen Klinsmann (5)
- Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci are the only players to have started all four of Italy’s games at Euro 2016.
- Graziano Pellè’s two goals at Euro 2016 have come in the 92nd and 91st minute.