Germany vs. Italy: Azzurri's Dominance over Germans at Major Tourneys Will End

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 28, 2012

GDANSK, POLAND - JUNE 22:  Holger Badstuber  and  Thomas Muller of Germany speak  during the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter final match between Germany and Greece at The Municipal Stadium on June 22, 2012 in Gdansk, Poland.  (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Italy has never lost to Germany in a major tournament (4-0-3), and for that matter, hasn't lost to the German side in 17 years. 17 YEARS!

That ends on Thursday.

Germany has its own impressive streak going, having now won 15 competitive international matches in a row, including every Euro Cup qualifier and each game in the tournament thus far. When you consider three of those wins came over Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark, it's all the more impressive.

Spain already advanced to the final behind its tika-taka style and staunch defending, but for my money, no team has been better than Germany at this tournament. Sure, the back line can be vulnerable at times, but that has been made up for by a world-class midfield and devastating attack.

This German team doesn't let up, and it doesn't lack for skill, either.

Mesut Ozil is one of the great creators in soccer today. Both Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose are deadly finishers. Thomas Muller and Lukas Podolski are world-class wingers. Philipp Lahm is one of the world's top defenders.

And Bastian Schweinsteiger works his tail off and keeps the Germans moving forward on the counterattack from the midfield. His health will be a key in this match.

The Italians are not to be taken lightly. With Andrea Pirlo orchestrating the team's movement from the back of the midfield diamond, the Azzurri have proven they are an attacking team more so than the defensive-minded teams of the past.

They won't sink into a shell and blockade the net, biding their moment for the counterattack while wave after wave of German attackers rushes forward.

No, like Portugal did against Spain, they'll battle with the Germans for possession in the midfield and push forward in the attack whenever they get the chance. They won't willingly let Germany take the game to them.

But Germany will take the game to them nonetheless. This German squad is too talented, too motivated and too confident to drop this match. The spell of dominance the Italians have cast over the Germans will come to an end on Thursday afternoon.


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