Germany will take on Italy in what will be a semifinals match that greatly favors the German team. And with all the advantages Germany already has, its extra rest that will further improve their chances of winning this match.
Let's take a look at when and where to watch this match:
Where: National Stadium, Poland
When: Thursday, June 28 2:45 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3
This will be Germany's first match since their 4-2 win over Greece on June 22. That will be a five-day rest for the German squad who has looked like an elite club the entire tourney. In a sport where stamina is king, the extra rest will only add more speed and ferocity to Germany's offensive attack late in the match.
On the flip side, the Italians only have three days off between matches. After a tightly contested match with England on June 24 that ended with the Azzurri winning in penalty kicks over the Three Lions, the Italians could use all the rest they could get.
The difference in the amount of rest between the two teams will always be apparent in the second half of any match. Its easy for a club to come out with energy in any contest, however it's when fatigue begins to set in that fresh legs can control the latter stages of a match.
Italy's only hope in winning this match is if their impressive defense comes to play and shuts down the potent German attack. However, it will be extremely difficult to keep up with Germany if Italy's defense is slightly more tired than their opponents' offense.
Preparation is always key in soccer and that distinction is no different in this match.
Germany is always a smart, tough team to beat, but with two days extra to prepare, they should be more organized than the Italian team.
Also, according to Reuters, per Yahoo! Sports, La Azzurri is hoping to have Daniele De Rossi, Ignazio Abate and Giorgio Chiellini healthy in time for the Thursday showdown with the Germans.
Team doctor Enrico Castellacci refused to rule any of the three in or out on Tuesday, even remaining cautious on Chiellini's chances despite the center back training normally after a thigh problem.
If it was Italy who had two days of extra rest, it would almost be a given that the Italian trio would be ready to play in Thursday's match. Now, although they might be ready, the three Italian players won't be nearly as healthy as they could have been with two more days to recooperate from their injuries.
Andreas Becker of Goal.com is reporting that German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will be available to play despite having battled injuries all tournament long. Granted, he might have been ready without the two extra days, more time between matches will only further improve his condition and ensure he is actually 100 percent.
History will also be against Italy, something the Italian coach isn't too pleased about, according to James Horncastle of FoxSports.com.
Prandelli is justified in feeling aggrieved. There have only been two previous matches where a team has enjoyed two more rest days than their opponents and those were the semifinals of Euro 2004. On that occasion the sides that enjoyed more recovery time, Portugal and Greece, beat those who had had less, Holland and the Czech Republic.
That fact is just another example of the advantage extra rest can bring.
While the extra rest might not seem fair, there's nothing the Italians can do about it now. It will be just another factor the Azzurri must overcome in order to complete the near impossible task of beating Germany and getting to the Euro 2012 finals.
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