Germany vs. Italy: It's a game fit for a final. Except one of them won't even get past the quarterfinal stage at Euro 2016
They're Europe's most successful football nations. They're arguably the form teams at this European Championship. They're the two countries that almost always rise to the occasion in major tournaments. Germany vs. Italy: It's a game fit for a final. Except one of them won't even get past the quarterfinal stage at Euro 2016. The continental heavyweights -owners of eight World Cups and four European Championships between them -collide in Bordeaux on Saturday in a match that stands out for many reasons. Firstly, there's the skewed history of their meetings in major tournaments. Germany and Italy have played each other eight times at the highest level and, bizarrely, the Germans haven't recorded a single victory.
"We still have a score to settle with the Italians," Germany goalkeeping coach Andreas Koepke said. Then there's the nations' current standing in football. Germany came into Euro 2016 as the world champion and, to many people, the tournament favorite. Italy arrived with what many back home were saying was the worst team in years.
The Germans have largely lived up to their billing, conceding no goals in four matches and hitting their stride with a 3-0 win over Slovakia in the round of 16. The Italians have silenced the critics with arguably the best two displays of any team so far, 2-0 wins over highly fancied rivals Belgium (in the group stage) and then Spain (in the round of 16).
"I'm not singing with the choir that wrote us off (after a 0-0) against Poland and is now branding us absolute favorites after the win over Slovakia," Germany coach Joachim Loew.
"They're not the Italians that we normally know," Loew added. "They're not only focused on defense but they play very, very well going forward. So ... I believe we'll have a very interesting, highly charged game on Saturday."
Germany's barren run against the Azzurri in major tournaments started with a 0-0 draw at the 1962 World Cup.