Germany v Italy preview

Preview ahead of Thursday night's Euro 2012 semi-final clash between Germany and Italy in the National Stadium, Warsaw (kick-off 7.45pm).

Last Updated: 27/06/12 at 19:43

De Rossi: Confident of facing Germany

De Rossi: Confident of facing Germany

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Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has confirmed he will be fit to play.

Schweinsteiger complained of a sore ankle after the last-eight win over Greece on Friday.

However, the Bayern Munich man has shrugged off the problem and will take his place in the German side aiming to record their first competitive win over Italy.

"I am 100% fit and very much looking forward to the game," he said.

"I have trained twice fully and I feel good."

Coach Joachim Low is expected to bring back Arsenal new-boy Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller and tournament top scorer Mario Gomez after surprisingly leaving all three players out of his starting line-up last time out.

Low's decision to rest the trio raised an eyebrow.

But the Germany coach, whose side are on a world record run of 15 successive wins in competitive matches, is unrepentant.

"I don't make my decisions dependent on what could happen," he said.

"I made my decision based on my own conviction.

"Before the Greece game I had the feeling in the last third of the game we had the right players who could play well against their defence."

Italy midfielder Daniele de Rossi is confident he will not be kept out by a bad back.

De Rossi suffers from long-standing back problems and was in an element of discomfort immediately after Sunday's win over England in Kiev

However, as a key man in the Azzurri ranks, coach Cesare Prandelli would want De Rossi available and the Roma man has no intention of missing out.

"It is not a case of being a hero or a warrior," he said.

"I would never give up the opportunity of playing for Italy against Germany, although I would feel the same if it was a match for Roma in the Coppa Italia.

"Ok. I have got a bad back.

"But I have got a lot of faith in the medical people. There are a few fitness tests tomorrow but I am confident I will make it."

The return of Giorgio Chiellini from a thigh injury will strengthen Italy's defence ahead of what is anticipated to be a far more strenuous workout than the one England gave them at the weekend.

Indeed, despite their impressive record of never losing a competitive game to Germany in seven meetings that include the 1982 World Cup final and 2006 last-four confrontation, they are clear underdogs.

Jokingly, Prandelli responded to a question of how Italy intended to combat a younger side, that has won its last 15 games and scores more goals, by saying they would just go home.

What he will not be doing is telling Italy to revert to type, and retreat into their shells after two years of expansive tactics.

"We will not change what has brought us here," said Prandelli.

"It would be a shame to waste the work of the last two years. In fact, we would be lacking in maturity to try to play a different way.

"You must risk a bit to be true to your professional philosophy."

De Rossi is determined to shrug off a back injury to take his place in the Italy team, although he will require a fitness test prior to kick-off.

"It is not a case of being a hero or a warrior," he said.

"I would never give up the opportunity of playing for Italy against Germany, although I would feel the same if it was a match for Roma in the Coppa Italia.

"Okay, I have got a bad back. But I have got a lot of faith in the medical people. There are a few fitness tests tomorrow but I am confident I will make it."

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Fixtures

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European Championships

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Czech Rep 3 -1 6
2 Greece 3 0 4
3 Russia 3 2 4
4 Poland 3 -1 2

Updated Wed, 20 Jun 2012

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