Tuesday, July 04, 2006

World Cup Preview Italy v Germany

Unbelievably, Nationalelf have never beaten the Azzurri in a competitive match, and were soundly beaten 4-1 by the Italians in a friendly in March.

Italy, though, have a proud record of being unbeaten in their last 23, dating back to October 2004, and have come through their own domestic turmoil to reach the last four.

Germany is without on of their start midfields, Frings, after he was seen on post-match footage of Germnay victory over Argentina in penalty kicks. A melee broke out after the game and Frings punched Cruz. To call it a punch, is perhaps an overstatement. More of a tap, really. Nevertheless, he's out and could theoritcally return to play in the Final as his second game suspension has been suspended for 6 months.

The melee saw much worse injuries and conduct by other players. The end was marred by pushing and shoving on the field, and Germany assistant coach Oliver Bierhoff said "Per Mertesacker was struck with full force in the leg by an Argentine reserve player, he was on the ground, the players started going for each other."

Suffice it to say, the German team has been negatively affected by the controversy surrounding the fight. Losing Frings is one thing, loosing your cool at this stage of the world cup, however, is much more damaging.

Italy is not without their own demons. Match fixing is a serious allegation, bringing into question the character of some of Italy's major stars. They are also without De Rossi after his brutal elbow thrown into the face of USA's McBride. Still, Italy is playing great and has had its fair share of luck, the best indication of who will win.

Italy 2 Germany 1

Look for Toti and Pirlo to hook up throughout the game and for at least one goal.

Sphere: Related Content