Italy boss Cesare Prandelli has admitted that Germany will be favourites in their Euro 2012 semi-final clash – but they are not unbeatable.
The Azzurri will meet the Germans on Thursday night after defeating England on penalties last night in the final eight.
“Germany are favourites to go through,” Prandelli stated on Monday afternoon. “But if we prepare for the game well then there are no invincible sides, just very strong ones.
“We have to field a lively team because we will have to battle. We have to base our game on the few weaknesses of our opponents. We’ll have to prepare the details and we will do that.”
Italy have used two different systems in their four games at Euro 2012 so far and Prandelli should keep faith with a 4-3-1-2 over a 3-5-2.
“They play with a central striker, with wide players who attack and a half striker, yet the tactical aspect is the last of the problems,” he continued.
“We have to face Germany with the knowledge that we can play our own game.
“We can’t sit back and defend in front of our penalty area. I’d prefer to concede a goal on the counter-attack rather than to suffer in defence for 20 minutes.
“My Italian players are only now realising that they have extraordinary capacities. If a team has 30 shots on goal then they’ll win nine games out of 10.
“We had 68 per cent ball possession against England and when you have that ability then you have to make the most of that.”
Germany do have an advantage over Italy given that they progressed to the last four with a win over Greece on Friday night – 48 hours before Italy’s 120-minute exploits in Kiev.
“That makes a big difference at this moment in time. UEFA will have to consider this problem, the two extra days of rest that Germany have make things unequal and are not synonymous with the spectacle.”
Prandelli could make some changes in attack with some early indications suggesting that Antonio Cassano could be replaced by Antonio Di Natale.
“Yesterday’s game was the most difficult for Balotelli and Cassano,” he added. “Antonio, during his fourth game after months of inactivity, could have paid the price for that.
“I really liked Balotelli. He did what he was asked – to keep the two English centre-backs deep. Perhaps he was a little unfortunate with his shots, but his performance was more than acceptable.
“We are not missing a striker, a lot of midfielders had efforts yesterday. Once we have decided how we have to face Germany then I’ll decide who plays.”
Italy have had some historic clashes against Germany in the past and they do provide Prandelli with a happy memory.
“Italy-Germany from the 1970 World Cup was always considered as the game for us kids who were 14 at the time. I remember that I was at home, I saw the match with my dad and it gave me such strong emotions.”
Italy won that one 4-3 after extra-time.