The quarterfinal ties couldn’t get any better,especially when two of the world’s biggest footballing powers, Germany Vs Italy, the clash could be termed as the “Nemesis war” of this year’s European Championship. The two giants last locked horns in a pre-tournament friendly where Germany ran out 4-1 winners comfortably, but the Azzurri have impressed and stunned football fans with their results and achievements since then.
Germany vs Italy Match Preview
Germany – Squad news
Die Mannschaft do not have any major injury concerns other than the possible exclusion of Jonas Hector from the starting lineup since the 1.FC Köln star is affected by soft flu, reportedly. However, Hector’s exclusion is only a possibility and he might be fit and fine by the time of the quarterfinal kickoff.
As always, we could write about Neuer starting at goal with eyes closed. An ever reliant Benedikt Höwedes is up for the left back job in case of a Hector absence, the FC Schalke 04 captain has also remarkably never lost a game in the national team shirt (15 wins from 17 games, 2 draws) and is hailed as a defensive all-rounder.
Hector’s loss could still be quite felt since Howedes is a no-nonsense defender and doesn’t possess the ultra-attacking traits of the Cologne man. Germany won’t be really that busy overlapping up the left flank in Hector’s absence and might be forced to push the attacks more centrally or the right flank itself.
At the right back position will be placed, one of the biggest young sensations so far in the tournament, Joshua Kimmich. The Bayern München youngster was one of the three major tweaks introduced by Joachim Löw during the course of the tournament. Facts couldn’t have been more convincing: 87.5 percent of his passes in Germany’s last group match against Norther Ireland found their man, he won nearly 60 percent of his man-on-man duels, touched the ball 104 times and he ruled the right flank. Kimmich could hence solve Löw’s expectations is that he is not only able to close all doors at the back but also drive Germany’s game along the flanks.
And of course, without a doubt, the highly praised and experienced centre-back duo of Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels would start at the centre.Boateng has undoubtedly been one of the stars in Euros so far, courtesy of a long-range cracker against Slovakia and phenomenal goal-line clearances, especially the one against Ukraine.
The initial problems in defence experienced by the German national team against Ukraine were solved by the timely recovery of Mats Hummels. The duo has been very complementing and shares a great working chemistry on the pitch. Germany’s defence has thus been the best one in the tournament so far yet to concede a goal.
Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos would form the capable defensive midfield duo in the starting lineup. Toni Kroos, the 26-year-old has attempted (449) and completed (417) more passes than anyone else in the competition – all he needs is a goal or two to cap off an excellent European Championship.
Toni Kroos doesn’t make headlines probably because he doesn’t score or assist, but this doesn’t mean that he ain’t the man to knit the midfield together. He quietly orchestrates the midfield, coolly controlling the tempo and providing the perfect bridge between defence and attack. He also provides an invaluable set piece threat.
Evidently, Germany’s attacking strength lies in their midfield and it is important to get the right combination of players in the centre of the park. Germany has so far played the trio of Julian Draxler, Mesut Özil and Thomas Müller.
Löw’s confidence in Julian Draxler is paying dividends, as the Wolfsburg man and Knappenschmiede youngster is proving to be one of the most active players in attack. The Wolfsburg forward has made a name for himself in a short time due to his frequent decisive contributions. Draxler has completed more successful dribbles (8 out of an attempted 9) than any other German player.
Thomas Muller has been quite ineffective in converting the chances laid for him so far in the European Championships as he has not scored in 7 appearances over the last two Euro tournaments. However, his style of play is very very unique and vital for Germany’s gameplay because his IQ is very precious.
Mesut Özil has put up solid performances so far in the Euros. A 99% pass accuracy, 7 crosses, 6 chances created, 4 shots and 3 take-ons make him a very active player, but there is always the nagging feeling that he could have done more, especially in converting the chances he should have converted.
The man to lead the forward line should be Mario Gomez, the third and final major tweak introduced by Löw that had a profound effect on Germany’s performance in the final third. Mario Gomez has scored 2 goals in the tournament so far and could be expected to bag more goals,once Özil and Muller get back to their best.
Germany’s expected starting XI for Germany vs Italy
Manuel Neuer, Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Howedes, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Muller, Ozil, Draxler, Gomez.
Italy – Squad news
The ongoing absences of AS Roma’s defensive midfielder Daniele De Rossi(right thigh injury) and Lazio winger Antonio Candreva (hamstring injury) could take a toll on Italy’s performances as both of them served as crucial starters in Italy’s Euro campaign so far. Added to this, is the suspension of Thiago Motta who will miss the game due to suspension. However Antonio Conte has more than a trick up the sleeve and Italy has performed very well so far without their other superstars (Verratti and Marchisio).
As they say, wine only gets better with age, and so is Buffon. His magnificent save in the dying moments against Spain that gave him the “Zoff” moment is an example of how vital he can be for the Azzurri. Added to this, is the special responsibility of captaining the Italian national football team that he quite expertly handles.
Buffon is also guarded by one of the best defences in Europe. The Juventus trio of Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini forms an impregnable defensive trio that has conceded just one goal so far in the tourney. This defensive trio is part of Conte’s famed 3-5-2 formation and upholds Italy’s historic reputation of being a defensive-minded football team.
Like Germany, Italy also have a 5 man midfield. It’s been a floating midfield but there have been certain mainstays like Roma’s Daniele De Rossi, Lazio’s Marco Parolo and Bologna’s Emanuele Giaccherini. De Rossi is employed in the holding role while in central midfield, Parolo and Giaccherini were used as box-to-box runners, covering the space next to De Rossi in defence and supporting both centre-forwards in the offence.
Conte decided to play Alessandro Florenzi and Mattia De Sciglio on the wings because Antonio Candreva was out injured. So we can expect Giaccherini,Florenzi,Sciglio and Parole to start in midfield, while Rossi’s replacement is something not really predictable.
The forward line is usually led by the duo of Southampton forward Graziano Pelle and Éder Citadin Martins of Inter Milan. When Italy played the ball to one of their wing-backs, usually the next step was to attempt a deep pass towards either Pellè or Éder. After receiving a long pass, both Pellè and Éder mostly left the centre and escape the clutches of opponent DMs by either directing the ball back to a wing-back or quickly turning towards the outside lane and trying to slide around the man-marker.
The chemistry of the forward duo is simply fabulous and there is no question about starting them up front against Germany.
Italy’s predicted starting XI for Germany Vs Italy
Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Florenzi, Parolo, De Rossi, Giaccherini, De Sciglio, Pelle, Eder.
Germany vs Italy Predictions
I personally predict a 1-0 win for Germany, yes, I root for an upset relative to the general talk around that Italy will live up to their historical record against Die Mannschaft. But this is going to be one heck of a match anyways and the best matchup so far in the Euros. Probably, it may drag us a little later than expected from our beds; extra time could be a considerable possibility.