The talk going into this tournament was of Germany being in decline, thanks to a string of unconvincing results, including defeats to Poland and the Republic of Ireland. They started the tournament in solid but unspectacular form, beating Ukraine before struggling against Poland and Northern Ireland, but they looked back to their best when crushing Slovakia 3-0 in the Round of Sixteen.
Italy was written off by journalists and ex-players, largely on the basis of their lacking any star players, but they’ve proven such criticism to be wide of the mark. Their victory over Sweden was hard to watch, and they were caught out by the Republic of Ireland in their final Group game when resting a number of key players, but either side of those results, they’ve beaten the tournament second-favourites Belgium and the reigning champions Spain to reach the last eight.
Germany vs. Italy – H2H Stats
Germany versus Italy is one of the oldest rivalries in European football. Between them, these two grand old nations have won eight World Cups and four European Championships, and both regularly feature at the business end of tournaments.
The two teams first met in a friendly in 1923, when Italy won 3-0 in front of 25,000 spectators in Milan, and since then the Italians have had the better of the fixture, winning fifteen of their thirty-three matches, with ten draws.
Perhaps the most notable statistic is that Germany has never beaten Italy in a major international tournament. Eight times the two nations have clashed in the big events, and eight times Italy have emerged victorious, the most recent being their 2-1 victory in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 in Warsaw.
Germany occasionally changes the line-up but rarely their formation, and the team that starts for this game will have a familiar look to it, with Sami Khedira and Tony Kroos pulling the strings behind a front four likely to be spearheaded by Mario Gomez, rather than a false nine like Thomas Muller. Germany coach Joachim Low will have noted how well Italy was able to smother a slow Spanish side and will be keen to get his players moving the ball quickly while retaining possession.
Antonio Conte’s variation on a traditional Italian style of play has been widely praised. It isn’t always pretty to watch, as anyone who sat through the match against Sweden will agree, but it is very effective. The team will line up with three central defenders, wing-backs and two up front but the key to the system is the fact that all of the players operating it are technically adept, know their jobs, and work hard to support one another from the first minute to the ninetieth.
Germany vs. Italy Odds & Betting Markets
In many ways, this will be a re-run of the Spain versus Italy game from the Round of Sixteen, with Germany playing the Spanish role of attempting to dominate possession, while Italy once again presses and harasses their opponents, before breaking quickly to threaten through Graziano Pelle and Eder.
But whereas Spain was ponderous and never really seemed to come to terms with the vigorous defence of the Italians, Germany will move the ball more quickly, stretching the Italian defence as much as possible and hoping to tire them and draw them into positional mistakes, which the likes of Ozil, Muller and Kroos can exploit.
It sounds simple on paper, but in reality, it will be fiendishly difficult. The Italian side is one of the best-organised teams ever to take the field in a major tournament. It is full of wily and resilient old campaigners who know exactly what they are doing and won’t buckle under pressure and is quite capable of taking the Germans to extra time at least.
Back the normal time draw at 21/10 with Betway.
Odds for First Goalscorer
Germany is likely to dominate possession and may well end up having more shots on goal than their opponents. But they have a number of potential scorers, all of whom are available at short odds.
At a bigger price, it could be worth backing Italy’s pacey midfielder Emanuele Giaccherini, who frequently makes adventurous forward runs and is available at odds of 20/1 with BetFred to score first.
Odds for Correct Score
Although this game is bound to be cagey, particularly in the first half, both of these teams have capable goal-scorers, and although the normal time draw looks a good bet, it probably won’t be a goal-less one.
Back the 1-1 draw in the Correct Score market at 6/1 with BetVictor, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can go for a 2-2 draw at 23/1 in the same market with 888Bet.