Today’s quarterfinal clash between Germany vs Italy presents a mouthwatering prospect to the neutrals whereas it’s a nail biter for the punters and experts alike. The path to today’s match however couldn’t have been more different though. On one hand are the pre-tournament favorites and on the other are the rank outsiders. Germany arrived in this tournament with the tag of heavy favorites. With World Cup 2014 in their kitty and an exciting attacking team at their disposal, semi finals were the least they were expected to reach. Their form has been patchy in the current tournament. The Italians had which some called the “Weakest Italian Team ever”. But they have defied expectations to reach where they are now.
The Classic Italian Defense versus the Fearsome German Attack
Antonio Conte has moulded this Italian team in his own image. Passionate, Fighting, Hardworking and a commendable team spirit, this Italian is like the classic Italian teams with a watertight defense and great at counterattacks. The Germans, prior to the 3-0 demolition of Germany, had found it hard to breach opposition defenses. Possessing the riches as likes of Thomas Mueller, Mario Gotze, Julian Draxler, Toni Kroos and Mesut Ozil, it was Skhordan Mustafi’s header that had opened their tournament. All those doubts in their attacking talents vanished with their last match against Hungary. With a proper Center Forward in Mario Gomez, the German attacking machine finally came to life and has set up an intriguing clash today at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux. The winner though is hard to pick. All those goals will not be any guarantee that the Germans will unlock the Italian defense whereas the Italians haven’t faced any team as well oiled as the German unit.
Will the History repeat itself or is the tide changing this time?
In the last 8 attempts, the germans haven’t been able to put it past their Italian Counterparts. Even in the Euro 2012, the beleaguered Italians had managed to keep Germany at bay largely thanks to Mario Balotelli’s brace. They don’t have “Super Mario” this time around as Antonio Conte only picked the players that he could trust. The absence of Daniele De Rossi in the midfield is a big blow to the Italian hopes. Coupled with the absence of Thiago Motta through suspension, it presents a big problem for Conte. He is likely to turn to Stefeno Sturaro and Marco Parolo to partner Alessandro Florenzi in the midfield. The defense, nicknamed the Italian “BBC” (Bonucci, Chielleni and Barzagli) will again be called upon to keep Thomas Mueller and Co quiet, whereas the likes of Graziano Pelle and Eder will have to punch above their weights. One thing is certain though; this Italian team will give everything they have got in the tank and more to win against their more fancied opponents. “A titanic effort” as their Gaffer demanded after defeating Spain will be high on everyone’s agenda. Make no mistake; this German team is unlike any opponent that Conte and Co have face in this tournament. Only Belgium could rival them in terms of talent but they were let down by their inexperience against their seasoned opponents. With Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, Coach Joachim Low has a strong defense, so the goals are bound to come hard for the Italian strikers. And if Mesut Ozil hits the peak of his current Arsenal season, the goals are bound to be scored. Toni Kroos with his vision and Thomas Mueller with his clever runs would be a handful for Bonucci and Co. Not to forget Julian Draxler and Mario Gomez and you can see why this game promises to be a blockbuster game to watch.
The Germans may seem heavy favorites to win this one but to count Italians out would be a big mistake. The attacking unit of Germany maybe fearsome but they are against the best defect in the whole of Europe. One team will be looking to continue the history whereas the other would be etching to write a new one.