Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Back in May, these two teams played a friendly; Italy played Germany off the park and eventually won 4-1. Since then, Italy have infamously become embroiled in all manner of domestic league scandals whilst Germany have united under the tutelage of Jurgen Klinsmann and spurred on by fantastic support - look a real force in this tournament. How times have changed.
Though it shouldn't be an issue, the statistic that Germany boast a record in the match stadium of 13 wins and a draw from 14 games and a positive goal difference of +52 is mightily impressive. Italy have Materazzi back after his suspension although Nesta is still unfit, Germany look able to field both Klose and Ballack who were slight injury worries but will be missing Frings who was retrospectively punished for his involvement in the mass brawl after the quarter final with Argentina. Frings will be a big loss to the hosts, it's his tenacious protection of the back four that allows Ballack to maraud forward and provide the key link between midfield and attack. It seems that Borowski will take his place and his performance may well be all important in determining Germany's success.
This will be a close, tight game and I can't see many goals in it - despite Germany's woeful defence. With their respective records in World Cup penalty shootouts (Italy never won, Germany never lost) the Italians will do all they can to win in normal time. I think they might just manage that.
Verdict: Italy win (in normal time).
Tags: world cup | germany | italy