One day after watching Spain defeat Portugal pn penalties, Germany and Italy will battle for a chance to play La Roja in the final of Euro 2012.
Germany has looked unstoppable throughout the tournament. The dominant squad has won all four of its games, including a 4-2 triumph against Greece in the quarterfinals. Those types of performances are why Die Mannschaft has a great opportunity to end Spain's reign atop the sport.
They can't look past Italy, however. The Azzurri have been terrific in the defensive third, allowing just two goals in four games. In order to slow down the versatile German attack, the back line will need to raise its level of play once again after shutting down England in the quarters.
Let's take a look at all the key viewing information for the highly-anticipated match, as well as some stars to keep an eye on as Germany and Italy look to earn a spot in the Final.
When: Thursday, June 28 at 2:45 p.m. ET
Where: National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
Players to Watch
Mario Balotelli (Italy)
When Balotelli keeps his emotions in check, the 22-year-old Manchester City star is one of the best strikers in Europe. Unfortunately for the Italians, it's impossible to know when he's going to start playing out of control, which makes it tough to rely on him.
After a slow start to the tournament, Balotelli has played much better over the past two games. He scored a goal in the team's victory over Ireland and looked extremely dangerous against England, but couldn't get one past Joe Hart until converting his shootout attempt.
The Azzurri need strong performances from Balotelli and fellow forward Antonio Cassano to keep up with Germany. They have been able to advance thanks to strong defending so far, but that won't be enough to reach the final. They must generate some offense as well.
Mesut Ozil (Germany)
Another strong season for Real Madrid allowed Ozil to assert himself as one of the best young playmakers in the world. He possesses tremendous vision, can deliver pinpoint crosses and it often seems like he sees the game a few steps ahead of everybody else.
He has tallied three assists over the past two games, helping jump-start an attack that came out of the gates a little sluggish. The onus will once again be on him to make sure Die Mannschaft can generate scoring chances against a stout Italian defense.
For Germany, everything starts in the midfield, where they have a major advantage over every team aside from Spain. The pressure will be on that group, including Ozil, to make sure the favorites don't suffer a semifinal defeat when hopes are high.
Mario Gomez (Germany)
Germany manager Joachim Low decided to give Gomez some rest against Greece after scoring three goals in the group stage. He did enter as a substitute, but the game was well in hand by that point, so he didn't have to exert much energy.
That should ensure he's fresh for today's match, which is crucial because he'll have to do a lot of running to find free space in the attacking third. It's one of the biggest matches of his career, so the toughest part for him will be having patience if nothing develops early.
Gomez has come into his own over the past few years, but an elite performance on a big stage would really help establish him as a top-tier striker. While that's easier said than done considering Italy's level of defensive play, he should be up to the task.
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