KATHMANDU: Germany is playing against Italy in the second Euro 2012 semi-final in Warsaw on Friday Nepali time(00:30am).
Here are some facts and figures about both the teams as provided by international news agencies:
Germany have not beaten Italy in 17 years, and never at a major tournament.
Germany 20,000 fans supporting Germany have travel east to Poland, outnumbering an expected 6,000 Italian fans at the city's magnificent river-side stadium.
Chancellor Angela Merkel won’t be there today who cheered Germany on wildly during their 4-2 quarter-final victory over Greece in Gdansk. Merkel will be busy in Brussels at a European Union summit.
Germany's central midfield dynamo Bastian Schweinsteiger has been declared fit despite a nagging ankle injury.
Actually, Germany's sole concern is Schweinsteiger, while Italy could be missing defenders Giorgio Chiellini, Ignazio Abate and midfielder Daniele De Rossi.
Prandelli has a real headache as his other right-back Christian Maggio is suspended.
Italy have scored only four goals in four games in the tournament.
Germany have won all four matches so far.
These two sides have met 30 times in their history: Italy lead by 14 wins to seven, with nine draws completing the record.
Italy have never lost against the Germans in a competitive game: three wins and four draws (including two games played at the Euros, in 1988, 1-1 and 1996, 0-0).
Six of Italy’s last seven goals at the Euros have come from set-pieces, whereas 11 of Germany’s last 12 have come from open play.
Germany’s last seven goals at Euro 2012 have been scored by seven different players, while no Italian player has scored more than one.
Germany lost in the 2002 World Cup Final to Brazil. In 2006, they hosted the World Cup and were defeated in the semi-finals by the Italians before winning third place against Portugal. In 2008, they marched to the finals of the Euro Cup before losing to the Spanish Juggernaut. Two years later those same Spanish ended a triumphant German tournament in South Africa in the semi-finals. Now Germany is looking to redeem itself and finally win that elusive trophy for the first time in over two decades.
Italy has gone in the other direction since winning it all in the 2006 World Cup. They had a mediocre Euro 2008 and followed it up with a dreadful World Cup 2010 in which they did not even make it out of the Group Stage.
Expectations were muted for Italy as they entered group play against Spain, Ireland, and Croatia. In their first match against mighty Spain, Italy shut down the potent offense of the Iberians and took a 1-0 lead. Spain tied the game, but Italy made them look ordinary. They played a less respectful draw with Croatia before finally winning 2-0 against a dreadful Irish side.
However, their penalty shootout win over England was disappointing for the Italians who out chanced the English time and again, but could never finish. The English barely had the ball in the match and Italy seemed uncomfortable finally being the possessor for the majority of the match. They will need to be better in finishing their chances if they are to extend their unbeaten streak in eight games against the Germans.
Player to Watch for Germany
Jerome Boateng has had a dreadful tournament thus far and may be the weak link of the Germans. Through group play he went relatively unscathed, but he paid against the Greeks as his inability to cover Georgias Samarus led to the Greeks tying the game 1-1 in the early part of the second half. He eventually also caused a penalty shot in the waning moments even though the game was out of reach.
If Italy deploys Mario Balotelli, Boateng will have the thankless task of marking the striker. Balotelli has been mediocre in this tournament, but he has shown flashes of brilliance. Balotelli is Italy's greatest scoring threat and if Boateng plays the way he did against Greece, Germany may be facing a nightmare.
If Balotelli is not the man for Italy, then Antonio Cassano will be and he comes with even more problems for the German defense. Boateng will need to be at his finest to stop the few chances Italy will have.
Player to Watch for Italy
If he starts, Balotelli is the man for the Italians. He had a plethora of chances to end the English and failed on each one. He was terrible in the match, but has the potential to turn it around when necessary. He scored a beauty against Ireland that shows off his scoring prowess. If he is alert and plays to his capacity, the German defense will have a tougher task than expected.