Germany take on Italy tonight in what is set to be the best quarter-final game of the tournament. The two sides are powerhouses of European football and the meeting of these two sides is befitting of that of a final.
Path to the quarters:
Germany have gone about their business quietly so far in this tournament simply getting the job done to progress deeper. The began their campaign with an entertaining 2-0 win over Ukraine before playing out a boring 0-0 draw with Poland. They then defeated Northern Ireland thanks to a single Mario Gomez goal. Those results saw them top Group C which set them up for a last 16 clash with Slovakia. Julian Draxler ran the show as they cruised to a 3-0 win despite missing a penalty! Germany began their opening tow games with Mario Gotze leading the line this decision to not play a recognised striker saw coach Joachim Low introduce a classic number nine in the form of Mario Gomez. He score against Northern Ireland and also bagged a goal against Slovakia. Germany have yet to really kick into gear this tournament with Poland the only side that has troubled them. Italy will be a true test of this German side.
Italy have proven their many doubters wrong so far in this tournament. Antonio Conte’s men were described as the worst Italian team in years before the tournament but they have shown tenacity and heart in their four games to date. The Italian defence has been nothing short of outstanding conceding just one goal to date and that came when Conte rested players against Ireland. Gianuigi Buffon has been outstanding in the Italian goal and captained his side to an opening 2-0 win over Belgium. They left it late against Sweden but Eder produced a fantastic goal to secure their place in the last 16 allowing them to rest against Ireland losing 1-0. They faced Spain in the last 16 and outclassed the defending champions. From the get go they put the Spanish defence under pressure with Graziano Pelle testing David De Gea on a few occasions. It was defender Giorgio Chellini who put Italy ahead. They then absorbed pressure from the Spaniards before an injury time volley from Pelle sealed the deal. Italy will be without the suspended Thiago Motta and Danielle De Rossi is a doubt heading into the game.
This game has all the hallmarks of a classic but look away now if you are German: Germany have never beaten Italy in eight past tournament meetings.