Germany vs Italy: A curious case of Euro déjà vu

Germany will take on Italy in a very tantalizing Euro 2016 quarter-finals clash at the Stade de Bordeaux on Saturday evening.

In 2012, die Mannschaft were defeated 2-1 in the semi-finals by the Azzurri. Italy then went on to the final, where they were humiliated 4-0 by Spain. This time around, La Furia Roja have been sent packing, thanks Italy’s impressive 2-0 win in the round of 16. Meanwhile, Germany come into this game having cruised to a comfortable 3-0 victory over debutants Slovakia.

The match against Slovakia was the first time fans have seen the “real” Germany. Joachim Löw’s men topped their group, but never got out of second gear. They now will be facing their toughest opponent to date – and Italy has a long track record of ruining their tournament ambitions.

In fact, although Germany beat Italy 4-1 back in March, they have never defeated them in actual competition. To date, their record stands as four wins and four draws. If one’s cheering for die Mannschaft, then it’s best to look away now. Italy have beaten them in every single one of their past four knockout meetings. The most recent, as we all know, was in the Euro 2012 semi-finals.

But there have been more misery for Germany. In 1982, Italy defeated them in the World Cup final. In 1970 and 2006, it was the semi-finals of the same tournament. So, if Germany wish to add a fourth Euro title to their already glittering trophy cabinet, they will have to overcome their hoodoo against the Azzurri.

Fortunately for die Mannschaft, they should have a full-strength line-up available. Jerome Boateng has reportedly shaken off an injury and will resume his place in the starting XI. Italy, however, are not so fortunate. Antonio Conte will have some major concerns in the middle of the park with veterans Daniele De Rossi and Thiago Motta missing out due to injury and suspension.

This will be a game featuring a lot of backstories. For starters, each side has plenty of Bayern Munich and Juventus players on their roster. Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng versus Gianluigi Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, and Andrea Barzagli. It will be a star-studded affair, but who will come out on top in this “Euro déjà vu” tie?

Well, for starters, goals might be at a premium. Germany is the only team who has conceded zero goals. Italy, meanwhile, have shipped just one. And that was with Salvatore Sirigu in between the posts. In fact, 15 out of the last 18 goals in this tie have come in the second period. Seven were in extra time. Meanwhile, Neuer has not conceded in an international tournament since Germany’s 7-1 humiliation of Brazil at the 2014 World Cup. However, Italy have kept clean sheets in 19 out of their 37 games, and as noted, have yet to lose to Germany in international competitive fixtures.

Michelle Bonsu

Freelance football journalist based in New York. Primarily support AC Milan as well as the Ghanaian and Italian NT’s, but you’ll find me watching the Bundesliga and Premier League as well–enjoy a good game, regardless of where it’s being played. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of my favourite players.