Euro 2012 Semi Finals Betting Preview – Germany v Italy

June 26th, 2012 | Posted by in Euro 2012

The other Euro2012 Semi Final is Between heavyweights between Germany and Italy. GMorgan from Sportingbet Australia has our preview which is being played on Thursday night which should be an exciting affair. Check out all the Euro 2012 betting odds from a number of European, Australian and International online sports books.

Germany v Italy – National Stadium, Warsaw – Thursday 28th June 2012

Germany vs Italy – Betting Odds from leading bookmakers and Online Sportsbooks

Like Cristiano Ronaldo, Germany are not known for lacking self-confidence in a footballing context, but if there is one side that sends a collective shiver down Teutonic spines, it is Italy.

Without wishing to over-emphasise the relevance of historical records, it does seem remarkable that none of the fabulous German and West German sides of the past have ever got the better of the Azzurri in a competitive international.

So Joachim Loew’s side will have to make history if they are to reach their seventh Euro Final and judging by the form that they have shown in the tournament to date, they are very capable of doing just that.

While Spain have been effective but slightly dull to watch, the freewheeling Germans have been a delight, tearing sides apart with their pace and attacking movement and winning over plenty of neutrals in the process.

Loew has also proven his worth as a coach, bravely rotating his squad to great effect even in the white-heat of a knockout tournament and consequently ensuring that his charges are fresh, sharp and ready to perform at their best when it really counts.

Predicting the German line-up for this game is therefore no easy task, although Lars Bender may well get the nod to start at right-back in place of Jerome Boateng who turned in another shaky performance in the Quarter-Final win over Greece, Thomas Muller should come back into the starting line-up along with Lukas Podolski and  Miroslav Klose may just retain his position up front ahead of Mario Gomez.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, meanwhile, is expected to shake off a nagging ankle injury in time to take his place alongside Sami Khedira in a central midfield combination that is the cornerstone of the German set-up.

Another positive for Loew and co has been the return to form of Mesut Ozil.

The diminutive Real Madrid man looked decidedly off-colour during the group phase, but burst into life with a man-of-the-match display against Greece and will ask plenty of questions of the Italian defence with his pace, mobility and sublime close skills.

Indeed, the Germans will feel that the key to downing Italy will be to play at a high tempo as this is not an Azzurri side overflowing with pace, especially in midfield.

The men in white should be able to press high up the field without worrying too much about being stung on the counter and that could mean Italy find it very hard to settle into any kind of rhythm themselves.

So how can Cesare Prandelli’s men defy the odds and maintain their status as Germany’s bogey side?

In two words, Andrea Pirlo.

He may not be as flamboyant as Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Juventus midfielder is every bit as vital to the Italian cause as the Real Madrid man is to that of Portugal and if Germany fail to shut him down, he is very capable of orchestrating a boilover.

Peerless, imperious, magnificent; you can pick your adjective to describe the 33-year-old’s display against England and although it could be argued that he was given far too much time and space in which to weave his magic during that victory over the Three Lions, he also shone against Spain in the opening group game and during the first-half of the draw with Croatia.

Unfortunately for Prandelli’s side, too many of their other players fall some way short of Pirlo’s high standards and while there is no faulting their work ethic or level of commitment, that lack of overall quality will surely be exposed by the Germans.

Tactically, it will be fascinating to see if Prandelli reverts to the old-style 3-5-2 formation that proved effective against Spain and Croatia, or sticks with the 4-1-3-2 approach that accounted for Ireland and England.

Given Germany’s attacking strengths, he may well plump for the former, although asking midfielder Daniele De Rossi to reprise his makeshift sweeper role against an attack boasting the likes of Klose, Mueller and Ozil might be courting disaster.

Indeed De Rossi may not even be fully fit come Thursday evening having developed a problem with his sciatic nerve which has required intensive treatment all week.

Prandelli also has a decision to make up front following his charges’ shockingly wasteful display against England. It may have been a positive that the Azzurri created no fewer than 35 goalscoring opportunities, but failing to take any of them was unforgiveable.

Italy won’t be afforded anywhere near as many chances by the Germans as they were by England and their coach must therefore decide whether to stick with Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano in the hope that they will come good, or reintroduce Antonio Di Natale, or even throw in a wildcard in the form of either Sebastian Giovinco or Fabio Borini.

Italy’s best display of the tournament to date undoubtedly came in their 1-1 draw with Spain and if they can produce a repeat performance, they could just squeeze through to the Final. Germany have kept only four clean sheets in their last nineteen Euro Finals games and rely on a formidable phalanx of attacking talent to cover the fact that they are not especially convincing at the back.

If the Azzurri can get at them, the German back four could creak, but on the evidence so far, Prandelli’s side may not have it in them to apply that kind of pressure.

It could be argued that Italy have already over-achieved by reaching the last four with what is by no means a formidable player group and historical precedents notwithstanding, it’s very hard to see them going any further.

Prediction: Germany 1-0 Italy

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