Italy coach Cesare Prandelli will be looking for his side to extend their proud record of never losing to Germany in a major finals when they meet in tonight’s Euro 2012 semi-final in Warsaw.
Germany - who are seeking their first trophy since lifting the Euro ‘96 title - will be by contrast hoping to end that run in what is their eighth meeting at either a World Cup or a European championship finals.
“There is no such thing as an invincible side,” said Prandelli. “Germany has that sense of knowing what they need to do.
They are also physically strong and have players who have tasted international success at club level, so they are a side with the ingredients to go all the way.
“But we will study them closely and work on the few weak points they have.”
Italy needed a penalty shoot-out to beat England 4-2 in Sunday’s quarter-final in Kiev with the Azzurri failing to hit the net in normal play despite 68 percent ball possession and 35 shots compared to England’s nine.
Prandelli has said the Italians will have to be daring in order to beat Germany, who are on a 15-match winning run in competitive matches since losing to Spain at the last World Cup.
Germany’s forwards shone in Friday’s 4-2 quarter-final win over Greece and Prandelli is mindful of the risk of pushing too far forward against a German side with the pace to punish on the counter-attack.
But Germany coach Joachim Loew was defiant when asked about the lack of German success against the Azzurri over the years.
“We can’t turn back time, forget about about it, the past doesn’t play a role in our planning,” said the 52-year-old.
“Another stat is that Germany has never won against Italy in a major tournament, but so what?”