The curse is broken and the streak is over! Germany have finally defeated Italy in a competitive match, albeit via penalties, to book their place in the semis of the Euro.
However, what was labeled as the worst Italian squad in 30 years, nearly pulled off a defensive masterclass over one of the most talented bunch of players in the world at the moment.
How they started
Germany (3-4-2-1) - Neuer; Howedes, Boateng, Hummels; Kimmich, Khedira, Kroos, Hector; Muller, Ozil; Gomez
Despite scoring a goal and providing an assist in the 3-0 win over Slovakia in the round of 16, Julian Draxler was dropped to the bench as Joachim Low matched Italy's tactics with a three-man defence of his own. Benedikt Howedes lined up alongside Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels at the back, with Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller playing in the space behind the striker Mario Gomez.
Italy (3-5-2) - Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Florenzi, Sturaro, Parolo, Giaccherini, De Sciglio; Pelle, Eder
Italy came into the tournament with an already depleted midfield, and after their last game against Spain, things only got worse. Daniele De Rossi picked up an injury and was ruled out of this game, along with Thiago Motta, who received his second yellow card of the tournament in the last match. This meant Antonio Conte had to bring in Stefano Sturaro into the lineup, with Marco Parolo taking up the role of being the defensive midfielder in front of the back-three.
Germany tries to mirror Italy's pressing and counter-pressing
Germany mirrored Italy's high pressing game in the match, which meant that both the teams had
Interestingly, both the teams applied counter-pressing, high up the pitch, whenever they lost the ball in attack, which drastically reduced the number of counter attacks they faced in the game. Italy
Khedira's injury nearly proves to be big blow
The Juventus midfielder looked the most dangerous German player on the pitch in the opening 15 minutes of the match. With Italy holding on to their shape and pushing
The 29-year-old was looking to exploit the space between the center backs with his runs, especially on the right-hand side of the pitch, and it took a lot of persistent effort from Marco Parolo to track his run. Khedira's energy was proving to be the difference, till he picked up an injury after he received what looked like an innocuous challenge from Chiellini.
Khedira was replaced by Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has not played a lot of football in recent times. The Manchester United midfielder looked
Leonardo Bonucci is brilliant at picking up long passes, and in this tournament, he had built a special bond with Emanuele Giaccherini. The Juventus defender picked up a well-timed run from the Bologna midfielder with a lovely cross-field pass over the top of the German defence, and it was Schweinsteiger who failed to track his run. Thankfully for Germany, Giaccherini's cut back did not find any Italian shirt inside the box, and
Two of the best defences in the world were on the pitch, and they were on song
At the other end, Boateng was imperious. The 27-year-old is perhaps
Otamendi or Adam Smith? Who will make more tackles?
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