Date: 2nd July 2016 at 11:34am
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Germany take on Italy in the European Championship quarter-final on Saturday evening bidding to beat the Azzurri for the first time ever in a major tournament.

For a country with such a rich history, the fact that they’ve been knocked out of three World Cups and most recently EURO 2012 by Italy will be a record the Germans will be itching to set straight in Bordeaux.

Antonio Conte’s Italian side are certainly having to do things the hard way at EURO 2016 having overcome consecutive champions Spain in the second round.

Germany have had a somewhat easier passage to the last-eight having comfortably dispatched Slovakia in round two after qualifying from an average group.

The match could be seen as a battle of two fantastic defences, with Joachim Low’s side yet to concede a goal in four games, and the Italians having let in just one to Ireland’s Robbie Brady.

Photo: Mark Leech

Italy knocked out defending European champions Spain in the Round of 16 – Photo: Mark Leech / Offside.

They’ll remind you of course that Giorgio Chiellini was missing from their infamous back three in that game, with Angelo Ogbonna joining Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci that night.

The Germans played some scintillating attacking football in the previous round, albeit only against a Slovakian side that looked like rabbits caught in the headlights. Italy have used their wing-backs to great effect in the competition so far, with Mattia De Sciglio having a particularly superb game against the Spanish.

This is the ninth clash at a major tournament between the two sides, with Italy having won four and the other four being drawn. Mario Balotelli scored a brace in the semi-final of EURO 2012 in a 2-1 Italian victory.

Germany have won just eight of 33 clashes overall, with Italy claiming 15 victories and ten games having been drawn.

Despite history being against Germany, their most recent clash was in Munich just three months ago and saw Low’s side thump the Azzurri 4-1 – their first win over Italy in 21 years.

Having said that, only four of the Italian side in Munich started in Paris on Monday, so it’s probably unwise to read too much into that result.

Germany are three times winners of the European Championships, most recently of course in England in 1996. Italy haven’t triumphed since 1968 when they won the tournament on home soil.

Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Germany are the defending world champions following their 2014 Brazil World Cup triumph – Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Team News:

Conte has real problems in midfield with Daniele De Rossi very doubtful after limping off against Spain with a thigh injury, and his replacement in that game Thiago Motta now being suspended.

If De Rossi doesn’t make it, then Juventus’ Stefano Sturaro could be set to start.

Lazio star Antonio Candreva is also still missing. A further headache is that as many as 11 of Conte’s squad are one booking away from suspension.

Germany have the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from after Sami Khedira, Jerome Boateng and Julian Draxler all shook off minor knocks this week.

FIFA World Ranking: Italy – 12th; Germany – 4th
Best European Championship Finish: Italy– Winners (1968) Germany – Winners (1972, 1980, 1996)
Previous Meeting: Germany 4-1 Italy – March 29, 2016 (International friendly)
Form: Italy – WWWWLW; Germany– LWWDWW
Key Men: Italy – Leonardo Bonucci; Germany – Mario Gomez
Shoot Says: Italy 0-1 Germany

 
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