IT'S the glamour tie of the Quarter-Finals. Will Dyer (@w2Dyer) shares his best bets on Germany v Italy.
Germany v Italy | Saturday 20:00 | BBC One
This tournament isn’t really trending in the best direction. Portugal making the Semi-Finals without winning a single game in 90 minutes is very frustrating for fans and neutrals alike. Germany vs Italy has a similar feel about it but at least it’s two heavyweights squaring off.
The Italians have a few players unavailable, Antonio Candreva and Daniele De Rossi are likely to miss out through injury and Thiago Motta is suspended.
These two have met eight times since the East and West joined in 1989. The record in 90 minutes makes for sombre reading for Die Mannschaft; W1 D4 L3. That win came in March this year in a 4-1 friendly win at the Allianz.
However, Germany have failed to win any of the three competitive meetings. The Euro ‘96 and World Cup 2006 matches were both 0-0 at 90 minutes but the Gli Azzurri won the 2006 World Cup Semi-Final 2-0 in extra time and they also beat Germany 2-1 in normal time at Euro 2012 in the semi-finals.
The last four meetings have all seen both teams score but three of them were friendlies and so far in the eight combined games that these two team have played at Euro 2016 not one game has seen both teams get on the scoresheet.
Germany breezed past Slovakia in the Last 16, passed and moved the ball beautifully and are yet to concede a goal in the tournament but they haven’t met a side as tactically astute as Italy either.
Chelsea fans all across the land are getting very excited about Antonio Conte and it’s not hard to see why. The Italian head honcho has a team of pretty average international footballers playing out of their skin.
Italy have toppled Belgium and Spain, both 2-0 and would likely have beaten Ireland with a full strength team but they didn’t need to risk playing their top players and resting them proved to be the right decision when the meeting with La Roja rolled around.
Germany look a little below the level they were at the 2014 World Cup. Thomas Muller hasn’t been pivotal yet and with a defence that only has one really world class defender I’m inclined to oppose them.
Italy have without a shadow of doubt the best defence in the world. Giorgio Chiellini, Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci should deal with the likes of Mario Gomez just fine. There is also a distinct lack of pace in the German side which plays into Italy’s hands.
The energy in the Gli Azzurri’s midfield from the likes of Marco Parolo, Emanuele Giaccherini and Alessandro Florenzi has been sensational and I can see them turning defence to attack in a similarly efficient way as they did against Spain.
Italy to qualify is my best bet here at 6/4 but I will also have a saver on Germany to win on penalties at 9/1. Die Mannschaft have won 83% of their penalty shoot-outs all-time to Italy’s 50%.
I’ve been very impressed with Eder and Graziano Pelle up top for Italy. Both have worked their socks off but I’m not prepared to delve into the goals or scores markets as it’s been a pretty low-scoring tournament thus far; no player is shorter than 5/1 in this game. Compare that to Wales v Belgium where you had six players all around the 5/1 mark.