Italy must be extraordinary to beat Germany, says Conte
BORDEAUX: Having eliminated holders Spain, Italy coach Antonio Conte is quietly confident his side can pull off another major victory in Saturday's quarter-final against old nemesis Germany, a team he considers to be the world's best.
Despite being considered before the tournament as having one of the weakest Italy teams in years, Conte has forged a cohesive unit and masterminded a run to the last eight after topping Group E and ousting the European titleholders 2-0.
However, they will have their work cut out to overcome world champions Germany, who are yet to concede a goal at Euro 2016 and thumped Slovakia 3-0 in the round of 16.
Nonetheless, Conte is quietly confident that Italy can again prove the doubters wrong and topple a side he considers to be the best on the planet.
"We've shown that through hard work, organisation and having 23 top players willing to work hard, we can overcome obstacles that appear difficult from the start."
Italy have an enviable record against Germany at major tournaments, having won all four of their knockout stage meetings, including the Euro 2012 semi-final against Joachim Lowe's much fancied side in Warsaw.
"There are a number of parallels between tomorrow's match and the previous Euros," said goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. "On paper, the gap between the two sides could be even greater considering they've won the World Cup in the meantime."
"We know there will be difficulties," added Conte. "We're ready to meet them head on. We need to play well to overturn the odds, they are against us from the outset."