Tonight two of the greatest sides in the history of football will face one another in the semifinal of Euro 2012. Between them, Italy and Germany have 7 World Cup titles, 12 World Cup finals, 4 European Championships and 7 Euro finals. Not including Brazil, these two sides are surely the best in the history of football, although today they are both eclipsed by Spain's brilliant side. That said, both sides have the ambition to take the throne again in a possible final against Spain, so be sure that they will try everything in the semifinal tonight.
The two sides have met thirty times in international matches, with Italy winning 14, Germany 7, and nine draws. In international tournaments, Italy has been the best, as they have never lost a match to Germany in either the World Cup or the European Championships. Of their World Cup clashes, two matches stand among the greatest World Cup matches of all time, namely their legendary 1970 semifinal, where Italy won 4-3 after extra time, and the 1982 World Cup final, where Italy won 3-1 to take the title. Their latest World Cup encounter was in 2006, when Germany, as home side, lost the semifinal 2-0 to Italy, who went on to win the World title in the final against France.
During European Championships the sides have met twice, in 1988 and 1996, both in the group stages, and both ending with a draw, 1-1 and 0-0 respectively.
But history cannot tell us much about the result tonight: The two sides that are playing tonight are very different than those from previous years. Germany started a rejuvenation of its football in 2002, and the side that plays today is much more technical, entertaining and harmonious than in previous times. Under coach Cesare Prandelli Italy has also changed, becoming more offensive, and relying less on their defense.
Both sides have looked strong in the tournament and are surely the only ones capable of taking on the mighty Spanish in the final. But be sure that no matter what, tonight another historical chapter will be written in the history of encounters between these two giants.
Good luck to both sides!