July 2 – Germany have a fully-fit squad to choose from for the clash of the familiar heavyweight foes after Jerome Boateng, Julian Draxler and Sami Khedira recovered from minor injuries. Italy will assess key midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who was forced off against Spain with a thigh injury and who has been crucial for Antonio Conte’s side as they upset pre-tournament predictions.
His obvious replacement, Thiago Motta, is suspended and the loss of de Rossi would be a significant blow for Italy as they look to knock Germany out for the second Euros in succession.
The Italians have no fewer than 11 players a yellow card away from a suspension that would see them miss a potential semi-final. Incredibly Germany have never beaten Italy at a major finals stretching over eight games. Worse still, they have lost all four against Italy in the knockout stages.
But in their last encounter, a March friendly, Joachim Low’s men won 4-1 in Munich and Germany’s record in major tournaments is phenomenal: semi-finals in their last five. They are the only team yet to concede a single goal so far at Euro 2016 but Italy have only conceded one themselves so expect a tight encounter between the two most impressive teams in the competition.
“We have no Italy-trauma, because it’s a different team now and I think nothing of things that are dragged in from the past,” says Low. “It’s cold coffee. We prefer a fresh expresso. We have to make sure it tastes very good on Saturday.”