I did not expect Italy's defensive game to take down Spain's total domination and Italian coach Antonio Conte to shock and awe Spain's defense so brilliantly. What Spain's misery reminded us of was that, even though possessing the ball is the most crucial element for both offense and defense, without the right rhythm and pace, domination can be an extremely dangerous choice. Nevertheless, Germany have never been so ready for neo-total football and domination, they are also a more compact and holistic team than Spain. It will definitely be a great game, and maybe the greatest one in the tournament, but neither team can be seen as the favorite.
However, the beauty of football truly starts here, because while it is easy to prefer an organized team over a chaotic team theoretically and aesthetically, when two organized and well-prepared teams face each other, we all find out our taste in football. Even though most of the columnists, including me, like to favor particular strategies and promote them as the "right" one, when the basic fundamental requirements of football (physical adequacy, sufficient technique and a system that makes 11 players play collectively) are satisfied, the rest is up to details and a bit of luck. But please do not confuse this notion with the chaos, where everything is up to luck.
First of all, both teams have extremely sharp midfield generals in Toni Kroos and Daniele de Rossi. These are the key players for their team's offense and defense, given their playmaking role defines how their team positions themselves against the opponent. The German side also has Sami Khedira, who makes Toni Kroos's defensive duties less tiring and keeps the playmaker focused more on offense, but Italian coach Conte sometimes puts Rossi in front of the penalty box to be the fourth defender, which makes Rossi considerably more fragile than his German counterpart. Hence, both teams need to block these two key players to prevent offensive waves and create lots of passing options to relieve their playmaker.
Secondly, Italy most probably will try the same strategy as they used against Spain and will cross the midfield with long balls in order to avoid confrontation with the German midfield. Nonetheless, Germany has two crucial differences from Spain at this point. Manuel Neuer is a much more active goalkeeper about intercepting long balls than David de Gea and Germany will probably do much better job about returning to defense than Spain. It would be considerably harder for Italy to find opportunities given long balls would lead to less time and space for Italian attacks.
On the other hand, I am not sure that if Germany can maintain their offensive rhythm and pace against Italy, given their opponent mastered the art of narrowing the space in this tournament. In previous games, maybe except the Poland game, Germany have not struggled to find opportunities. Their amazing offensive frontline led by Mesut Özil managed to circulate the ball with great precision and speed. However, this time they will find at least four Italian players on each side of the penalty box, and through balls will not be as accurate as they were in the tournament. Added to that, we will able to observe how well Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels can build the game from defense whilst the Italians press them fiercely. Thus, generally it will be a great test for the German team to show their collective skills and independence from the need of individual skills.
Finally, if Italy want to win this game and march towards the trophy, they must press, fight and disturb Germany's game as much as possible and the key is distorting the playmakers' habitat by giving them not enough time and space to play the game. Unfortunately for Italy, Germany has three leaders, Özil, Kross and Boateng, all of whom are capable of creating opportunities. Italy must fight fiercely on every front and wait for the right moment when Germany starts to give away organizational discipline. To sum up, I do not know which scenario will happen, but I am 100 percent sure that it will be a great game.