Boateng: Find solutions without pushing recklessly
Some encounters with Italy have been especially painful for Germany. The 2-0 defeat in the 2006 World Cup. The 2-1 loss in the EURO 2012. Both times the Squadra Azzurra downed Germany in the semi-finals, who have not beaten Italy in eight encounters in major tournaments. However, Joachim Löw's troops aim to change that at the EURO 2016 quarter-final stage on Saturday at 21.00 CET!
"We're looking forward to it! It's going to be a great match," Jérôme Boateng declared on Thursday, sounding the all-clear for the cracker in Bordeaux. "My calf is quite fine," assured Boateng, "it will be okay by Saturday." The defensive pillar will team up with Mats Hummels & Co to neutralise Graziano Pellè and Eder Citadin Martins, who are relatively unknown in Germany. "I know them and I'll prepare well as usual."
Suspension risk no issue
Not only Italy's attacking duo will pose a threat on Saturday as the whole team have made "a very good impression" in the course of the tournament, warned Boateng. Oliver Bierhoff added: "They're perhaps even stronger than 2012. They're more organised, more compact." The Germans are not concerned about the patchy record against Italy in major tournaments: "It has never been easy for a German team to play against Italy," said Toni Kroos, who is nonetheless "very, very confident that we can beat them."
"It'll be crucial to stick to our play," stressed Boateng: "Italy are very compact and have good defensive discipline." The world champions have to "find solutions without pushing forward recklessly" as the latter would favour the Italians, who are dangerous on the break. Boateng chose to ignore that he and Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil face a suspension risk as they would be onlookers in a potential semi-final encounter should they collect another booking: "I don't think of that." Hummels added: "Conceding a goal would be worse for the team than a ban for me personally" -- which holds especially true for encounters with Italy.