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7/03/2006 09:57:00 AM
Germany riding a wave
Germany's Miroslav Klose has been dominating the scoring charts with a Cup-high five goals.
Posted by Grant Wahl
HAMBURG, Germany -- On the eve of Tuesday's World Cup semifinal, as buoyant Germans hang Deutschland flags by the thousands on their cars, bodies and apartment terraces, it's instructive to note that only four months ago, most Germans were deriding coach Jürgen Klinsmann as a New Age-y California kook.
Italy demolished Germany 4-1 on March 1 in Florence, scoring twice in the first six minutes, and suddenly the SoCal-based Klinsi's newfangled methods -- including motivational speeches by mountain-climbers and the use of American physical trainers -- were pilloried as the desperate attempts of a rookie coach in over his head.
No longer. With the quarterfinal eliminations of Brazil and Argentina, Germany is now, remarkably, the team to beat in this World Cup. And when Germany and Italy meet again on Tuesday in the lion's den of Dortmund -- where the Germans are 13-0-1 in 71 years of national-team games -- the Azzurri will be a heavy underdog.
The main reason is simple: Germany is nowhere near the clueless bunch that played in Florence four months ago. A once-porous central defense has toughened up since allowing two goals to (gasp) Costa Rica in its World Cup opener, and Miroslav Klose has emerged yet again as a lethal finisher (five goals in five games) who's well on his way to winning the Golden Boot. Nor does it hurt to have a rock-solid goalie in Jens Lehmann, who could come up big again if he's needed in a penalty-kick shootout. (If he had crib notes for the tendencies of the Argentine penalty-takers, you can be sure he will for the Italians, too.)
While Germany has had a tougher path in the knockout rounds, eliminating Sweden and Argentina, the Italians have had it easy, dispatching Australia and Ukraine. Not that the Azzurri have been playing poorly. The 3-0 Ukraine win marked the return to form of forwards Luca Toni (two goals) and Francesco Totti (90 minutes!), who could both unsettle the German back line.
It's almost certain that Italian centerback Alessandro Nesta will be out yet again with a groin injury, but at least Italy will have Marco Materazzi back as his replacement after he missed the Ukraine game due to suspension. The Azzurri have allowed only one goal in the World Cup -- a fluky own-goal against the U.S. -- and the primary reason has been the sterling performance of Fabio Cannavaro, for my money the best defender of the tournament.
(This gives me an excellent chance to tell my best Cannavaro story. During the 1998 World Cup, Cannavaro did Sports Illustated a big favor by giving the cell number of then-club-teammate Lilian Thuram to SI contributor Gabriele Marcotti. Thuram was a stud during the last week of World Cup '98, and thanks to Cannavaro, Marcotti was able to get Thuram on the horn for us. When we asked Cannavaro what he'd like as a token of thanks, he said he'd always wanted ... a John Starks New York Knicks jersey. And so, two weeks later, I boxed up a Starks jersey and sent it to Parma. Remind me to ask him if he ever still wears it.)
Add up all the things in the Germans' favor -- the crowd, their surging confidence, Lehmann's form, Klose's nose for the goal -- and it should be enough for the win. Prediction: Germany 1, Italy 0.
What's your take? Can Italy be the first team ever to knock off Germany in Dortmund?
I think Italian teams never play nice soccer but they play to win! Won't be easy for the Germans! But if you were in Germany at this moment and feel this great atmosphere here you know ´why the Germans are doing much better than everyone thought! Germany is a great countrie but the germans noticed that for the first time and so many people fell in love with that great team that everything is possible for them! The Germans know that this is their chance to become great all time heros and they will win. The Italians are already afraid you can see that in the case of Thorsten Frings or what did you think why they send these pictures to the FIFA
Italy will not allow a single goal to slip behind its defense and impressive goalie. Although Italy has no comperable offense, one slip by the Germans will mean a winning goal for Italy. It will happen once more after German confidence, upon which so much is riding, is demolished. Italy 2, Germany 0. The collected Germans are no match for the passion of the dynamic Italian team!
You may think that this is not a popular view at this moment but it is important to note that Italians just don't give up goals.
Italy has the best defense - hands down. If they score a goal, they will win it 1-0. I see desperate Germans trying to score a late equalizer only to be surprised by a second goal by Italy late in the game.
The only way Italy can lose is not penalty kicks after the OT. Although this scenario has happened twice already, I don't think this is a common phenomenon.
Go, Italy! You have the support and the admiration of all soccer fans of the world. You are going against a heavily favorite home team. You can do it. As a matter of fact, I know you will.
From the other semis, it will be Portugal overcoming France in an easy game. That will also be 2-0.
Hello there !! The Italians are not afraid of the Germans team at all, they used to play with great teams this is not the first time.
Regarding the case of Thorsten Frings, i think that they did a good Job to send these pictures to the FIFA because the rules are the same for evrybody not only for the Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi which in that case he as been kind and apologize with the American striker.
I think that the Italian team are very good boys and very friendly with evrybody. Very good friends!!! they are honest
Itay will win with their with their amazing defenders in the back and Toni and Totti scoring like crazy Germany won't have a chance. And you don't have to worry about the fans either because Italians will be there waving thei flags(espacially when they win)
Playing the hosts will not phase italy. they beat korea(doggy refs) beat holland on penalties in euro 2000 and lost to france on pens back in 98. italy will beat the germans 3-0. thanks to a toni hat trick
This may just be Italian Pride showing through, but Italy can take this one. Offense may win games - And it's true, Germany's offense may be better than ours, but defense wins chamionships.
You've already sung the praises of the Italian defense, and honestly, you know Germany can't hold a candle to it. This game will come down to defensive players, and ultimately Italy will prove my point.
Italy 1 Germany 0
There's no arguing against a good defense.
If I am wrong, It will be because our defense buckles under the crowd's pressure. We shall see, I suppose.
If the game was played on neutral field I think Italy will win, but playing in Germany, is will be very difficult to reach the final. I’m rooting for an Italian win that will be remember in soccer history.
I am German, and someone recently asked me, how the German team almost always makes it into the knockout-stage of a World Cup (or even into the final).
The answer? We have no idea!
We're no idiots, we know the shortcomings of our team just like everyone else. Everyime the German team faces another world class team (although we keep waving our flags and singing) no one in Germany really believes our team can win - EXCEPT THE GERMAN TEAM!
Maybe that's the answer?
At least they never give up, and that's something every German fan honours in a football player.
But no matter who will win this in the end, at least we'll be able to admit that the other team played better - unlike other "fans" who keep whining about the weather and some such!
Greetings from the host nation - it's been a great party!
if it wasn't for the grammy-worthy fake dive of fabio grosso against the australians, italy wouldn't even be here. the way i see it, italians just don't have the courage to win it in a fair fight. as long as germans maintain their discipline on the pitch and don't get riled by the italian under-handed cheap tricks, germany will dominate the prada-wearing italians throughout the game. germany 2:0.
Everyone knows about Italy's defense, but their offense is coming around now too. With Totti and Pirlo directing the play, Toni and the attacking midfield should have plenty of opportunities. Totti is finally getting his form back after being injured. When healthy he is one of the top and most creative #10s in the world. The Azzurri get one in the first and then one in the second to beat Germany 2-0.
Interesting, throughout the World Cup Germany has been slammed for it's defense, they rose to the occasion. They were slammed saying there is no way to beat Argentina, they again rose to the occasion. Now they are being told they can't beat the Italians, I think again they will rise to the occasion. The home field advantage and the ability to score when they aren't expected to and defend when they are expected to will lead Germany to a 2-1 win. Should be a great match...
The Germans are tired, but playing well. The Italians are just starting to find their groove. Neither team will find it easy to score. Still - I think home-field advantage will overcome the Italian defense and give it to Germany in overtime. Klose has a couple more balls in the back of the net before this is all over.
France vs Germany in the Final...I predict Germany as the winners of the 2006 World Cup.
No other team would have been brilliant against Argentina. They were the best team in this tournament. As for the Germany-Italy game: Italy hasn't played a single decent team in this World Cup and it was more luck than anything else that has made them advance to the Semis. Oh, and a good dive :-) I think it'll be a close game and I have no clue who is going to win. If Germany plays like they did against Sweden even Italy's defense doesn't stand a chance. If they play like they did against Argentina Italy will advance. So let's see ...
Germany will advance, but how is the question. An Italian team overcoming great adversity, first with the looming relegation of one of the most revered club teams in the nation, with the possibility of others following ‘La Vecchia Signora’ into the second or god forbid, the third division. Then the bewildering reports of Pessoto and his ‘fall from grace.’ The Azzuri has shown great strength dealing with misfortune and hardship and a defense that has allowed very little will be extremely difficult for Klinsmann and the German troops. Totti has been invigorating but will be needed for greater lengths and Toni shed the goal monkey off his back, but that won’t mean anything if he doesn’t repeat his success of last game. Look for a late goal or perhaps spot kicks, something Buffon has admitted isn’t an ideal situation and perhaps memories of Baggio still cast a dark shadow over the Italians. With the crowd a slight factor, look for the Germans to continue to attack and if they can keep the midfield from Gattuso and Pirlo, they should succeed. Germany 2-1. Final result coming in penalty shots.
Has anybody noticed how much chances the ukraine(!!!) had in the first minutes of the second period?? Could have been a 0-1 to a 3-1 for Ukraine. A great defense? No. After the costa rica game the german defense had not that many letdowns together against ibrahimovic, larsson, crespo and tevez. But Italy has played against really dangerous strikers...ah, ok it's Sheva playing in his worst condition of the last 5 years. Come on, I think Itlay wins in pk after a 1-1.
I just don't see this one being a high scoring game. Italy's goalie is very seasoned. he knows what he is doing. i feel that the german offence will keep the ball in range of Italy's goal, but will have trouble with the great defence of Italy. All i know is that this game surely will be one to watch!
italy is the most unfair team ever! they can win with dubious methods only. they did it in the past and they do it today. look at the frings affair. do you know, that the former president of the italian soccer-association (retired by reason of a corruption scandal) involved in the decission to frings? there are no words! throw the mafia out of the wc! i think so, and i am not german!
What a farce! Isn't it enough that the Italians are the world champions in diving and stealing penalties? On the bottom line they are now leading 1:0 already before the beginning of the next match. They actually managed to get Torsten Frings banned for the match against them, just the one German player who was elected best player of the match (against Argentina).
I am really surprised that they got through with this sleazy maneuver after Julio Cruz himself told the FIFA that he had not been hit by Frings. But then on the other hand I am not surprised at all: They have nothing to lose and the World Cup will be their last chance for a glorious show for quite a while. After all their coach and some of the players might face criminal charges for match fixing, beginning on Monday, July the 10th - one day after the final. Good luck to all of them - to the German AND the Italian players!
it will be a tough game, very physical.. but the germas will be unable to surpass the best defense on the world cup. luca toni is now full of confidence he will score and when germany desperately attacks to equalize italy's counterattack will liquidate the germans. forza azurra!
First of all its spelled Thorsten Frings. He played the game of his life against argentina leaving them no single chance out of the game! Its going to be very hard for the germans to replace him as a defensive midfielder. Nevertheless i think Germany is going to beat Italy 2:0! I am really looking forward for that game. And those who say they expect a boring game can't really be football fans nor do i expect them to understand football at all for its going to be a tactic spectacle. (I hope the Brazil team is going to watch that game. They will see exactly what there game is missing!)
I hope the obvious Italian arrogance raising its ugly head once more in this forum will receive some painful punishment by the German team. I played soccer in the US with a bunch of Italians - all really really nice guys, but as soon as they started talking about gli Azzurri they just seem to lose their sense of reality. I heard them seriously annonce a 6-0 against the US - and that was before their weak showing against the Czech Republic. Nasty move to denounce "the Lutscher" and have him sanctioned by FIFA. Are you so afraid??? Hope Germany will wipe the floor with the world champions of nasty tactics!!!
I hove nothing personal against Italia, Italians, but this dubious "Frings-Affair" (the kind of punishment is really interesseting, so the way it was pushed by ITALIAN TV-Stations) is some the end of all friendship with Italia in Football. On Tuesday, the Azurri will face 50.000 Fans and a furious German Team, you deserve to lose for your poor football and childish dives. Thats all you can. When the Enemy is strong, you hide in your site of field and wait for dives to come. On Tuesday, Italian faces will be melt. Or, how we say in germany: "Jetzt erst recht".
hey Mr wahl , you probably won t post me, but first you have been predicting a all south american final when there were no way argentina and brazil could have bit all the European teams. Now you predicting germany based on the stats of the stadium, let s say the 4-1 is couple of month ago, italy would never take four goals even drunk (hope not to bring bad luck tomrrow:)) german tema is weak in defense, and Klose was never and still not is a big prospect for the big italian clubs, he is a weaker christian vieri, Italy would not have him in the bench, or may be instead of iaquinta......if tomorrow germany wins is a big surprise, and the underdog can rely only on their home ground to bit a far better italian team......
This is going to be a tough match played by two tough and talented teams. Italia is skilled at every position as are the Germans but when you stack their players side by side Italia seems to edge them out. Not downplaying the homefield advantage the Germans are enjoying and thier talent, but Italia is the superior team and will undoubtedly use the rules and regulations of the game to have calls go to their advantage. FORZA AZZURRI!
It's scary when some of the Italian supporters get too highly positive! I'd love Italy to win and prove the whiners wrong but this is Germany playing home at Dortmund(their favorite stadium), gonna be a tough nut to crack even with Cannavaro manning the back.:-( But just to 'unjinx' the Italians I'm gonna have to give a 3-0 to the Germans.
I think Italy will win this one. I hope not, but I thihnkn they will. I'm a huge germany fan, but I think this will be it for them. never the less, I think the germans should be given the outmost respect by all soccer fans in the world. If Brazil and Argentina have the flare and the talent, the germans have the organization and the spirit and the desire. Good luck Germany.
The suspension of Frings just shows the lengths Italians will go to in order to win. Although they vehemently deny it, they provided these tapes at the 11th hour. I find it hard to believe they didn't study these tapes for 24 hours to see what benefit they could get out of them. Not coincidently, one of FIFA's primary directors recently stepped down as the head of the Italian Federation. Frankly I find it funny that FIFA would accept anything from the Italians given the recent scandals plaguing their domestic league. Lets also not forget what happened to the Korean player Ahn after he scored the golden goal against Italy in 2002. A win for Italy tomorrow would just substantiate their lack of ethics and consistent use of underhanded tactics. I sincerely hope they lose very badly. At least Germany doesn't have to worry about Frings being available for the Final!
Without Frings on Totti,,Totti will be able to orchestrate the Italian midfield, thus controlling the match. German defenders seem a bit sluggish whereas the Italians have not given up a goal ( own goal against the USA not included )Italians have a bit to prove especially against the German media who ridiculed their play up to this point in the World Cup. Germany 1 Italy 3 a repeat of the 1982 Final
The Italian media did a severe disservice to their own team, when they aspersed Thorsten Frings. The might think the suspension of Frings is an advantage. Well, dear Italians (and I really like you), tomorrow you will face 78,000 fanatics that have often referred to as "The Wall" (the Germans scored 13 wins and 1 draw in 75 years in Dortmund).
You'll see that this Wall will become even more unsurmountable. People in Germany ask why Italy should utilize such an incident. Are they afraid? Lacking self-confidence?
Anyways, that maneuver will hit you like a boomerang - you incited 22 remaining German soccer players and an entire nation. Good luck, Italy - you'll need it...
Okay, I live in Germany and have followed the Germans since the Klinsmann experiment began. These guys are on a mission, and they totally believe in themselves. They're young and fit, and even without Frings, I think they'll find a way to break the Italians vaunted defense at least once.
As much as I love the country, people, and culture, I can't bring myself to say anything good about the Italian team, other than that you have to respect their defense. They play dirty, dive all over the place, and are generally assholes on the field. Australia was robbed to get them this far, and their match againt the U.S.A. was one of the dirtiest I've ever seen.
Dream Prediction: Germany 3 Italy 1 after at least one red card against the Italians.
Realistic Prediction, since the officials seem to be sight-impaired when Italy commits a foul: Germany 1 Italy 0 after an early goal by Klose. The Germans hang on.
Misc. Comment: The atmosphere here over the entire World Cup has been amazing. The world has gotten an entirely different look at how Germany can throw a party. It's been a wild ride so far... I'm rooting for the home team on this one.
Italy is far a better team than Germany. The truth is that two best teams are out of the world cup now, though Brazil didnt play in its standard at all. Elimination of Argentina was the biggest upset in the world cup 06. Germans should celebrate their miracle win and be happy with a semi final spot. Foot ball fans don't want to see another miracle. Italy should win and face France in the final.
you said that Italy could not even with against the USA...whats your point every team has there off days..And for Italy it was against the USA. But tack a look at every other game they have had we have always come out on top always winning 2-0 or 1-0 (that was not a dive tack a look at the replays and you will see what happend.) anyway the only goal we let in was from our ouwn team mate..So who care that we did not do so well in that game we tied did we not..anyway Italy has a strong team and so does Gemany so we will have to see how that one goes.
Without Frings, Ballack is gonna have to sit back a bit and will get forward alot less. This will leave the German attack to the wings, forwards and Lahm. I dont think this is gonna be enough for them to score even wthout Nesta. Go Back and look at all the German goals. Every one was the result of poor defending more than the creativeness of the Germans, besides maybe the Poland goal. The Germans probably wont be able to score which leaves it up to the Italians. I think the only way they score is off a Pirlo free kick or an outside blast by Totti. Realistically this game will prolly got to PK's, where you have to of the best goalies in the world, but i think Italy wins it.
If more than two goals are scored in this game, Germany will be advancing. So long as the game can be held below the 2.3 goal/match average, the Italians will find a way to grind it out. This is the match of the tournament. Germany and Argentina doesn't have the "rival factor" that this one does. This is Red Sox-Yankees. Should be a thriller.
just to be sure: the Italian defense is NOWHERE near what the numbers may make you believe. It may have been only 15 minutes againt the Ukraine, but in a quarter of an hour they virtually begged for the equaliser against a team that had not even been able to spot the Italian box in 45 minutes. And if not for tremendous luck by post and crossbar, it would have been 1-1. And remember the Italy-USA game and you get an idea of how 'solid' this squad is when conceding a goal. To an undermanned American squad.
A lead for Germany, or even an equaliser, and Italy is going down faster than you can think. Their defense will be exposed, because Germany won't repeat Pekkerman's blunder of not attacking the weak spots and instead try to save the result...
Come on, be fair. The Azzurri didn't ask for Frings's suspension - it's the medium. And Frings deserves that as well. You pay the price when you do something wrong.
Speaking of fear, I think it's the Germans who are feeling and acting it. Their newpapers did nasty personal attacks to the Italian players, which were very low. I bet the Azzurri will win and they will win the Cup in the end.
Just for Fabio Cannavaro alone, I want Italy to win. He's worked so hard each match and has been very inspiring to say the least. Here's hoping his spirit catches on with the rest of the squad despite all the crap that's been going on in Serie A, the media-bashing, the assuri-bashing fans. I hope they overcome all of that and win this Tuesday.
Italia 4eva! Italy will win, but it wont be easy against the German favourites. i think a 1-0 win for Italy or they will win in a shoot out...nevertheless, whatever the outcome, the showdown between the Germans and Italians is going to be brilliant! its going to be some fantastic soccer.
I want to know how much the Italians paid for leaving Frings out??? Everyone knows there good at things like that!!! Frings was the best man on the field against Argentina I think the Italians specially Totti allready shit his/their pants because they were scared of him!!! cowards!!!!!
Italy has not played an impressive game against a good team since the first round. The only reason they beat australia was a dive (suprise, suprise). The Germans also have the confidence of beating a very good team even though they didn't play their best game. Germany 1 Italy 0
Italy showed last game against Ukraine that they can score goals when they are given the chance by their coach to attack the opposing teams goal. We all know their defense is unmatched, which means if they attack, they win. Toni will get at least one goal and I predict Totti will also get a goal. Look for Gattuso to get a red card for taking out Germany's best striker. I love him, sacrificing his body and playing time for the team every game. Italy just has a better team all around and it is their time after all the failures and bad luck in the past few cups. Forza Azzurri!!!
Germany will be tough to beat, especially now that Brazil is out they can almost taste victory. But Italy is still Italy, and they always have a chance on a good day. They played well against Ghana and Czech, but showed poorly agains the US. If Italy plays the Germans like they did the Yanks - Germany will past them good. Also, Italy has had an easy run, giving Germany the edge both in confidence and intensity. But it could also mean a more rested and fit Italy (especially if Ballack limps around like at the end of Argentina). The loss of Frings could hurt although Kehl isn't too much of a dropoff. In the end I think Germany is too tough at home for this Italian team. 1-0 if they score late, or 2-0 if they score early and force Italy forward. If it should go penalty kicks, how can you go against the Germans?
Germany will win. They have the home team advantage, and are confident. The Italians are clearly a good team, but are unsure of themselves. Likely the game will be left in Lehmann's hands, and judging by his previous games - the Germans will be safe. Besides, there's still a huge chance they may make it into PKs, in which case Germany will most definitely win.
My main curiosity is how much cheating Italy will continue to do in order to advance. This is a thuggish team without scruples and it would be a travesty for interantional sportsmanship, should they be rewarded yet again for their bad behavior.
THere seems to be a lot of venom for the Italian side from all sides whenever the World Cup comes around....For us Italians this is a badge of Honor, even though we prefered to be loved, at least we are feared. For nothing inspires hatred more than envy and fear....and yes all teams have much to fear from Italy this world cup...W Italia e forza gli Azzurri
Just as England and Brazil were predicted to move onward, add this game to the list. Germany has given up 3 goals with many other close calls or saves, (call them what you wish). The German " goal against" total could have been much higher. The soccer gods have been kind to the host team's goalie. An achilies heal against Italy. Germany learns the meaning of a stubborn, stingy defense. Italy 1, Germany 0.
Italy was in trouble vs Australia and vs Ukraine. Their defense is overrated since it hasn't faced a really strong side. Germany on the other hand defeated Argentina and the Argentinian team played amazing defense. I don't think the Italians can reach their level.
If anything can stop Germany its that Frings is missing, that they may be a bit more tired than Italy and that Klose and Ballack are not totally fit to play. If you know Klose you could see that he was nowhere near his normal level in the Argentina game.
Who I would like to win: Italy. Who I think will win: Germany.
I don't buy into the whole "Italy has a much more talented team" aspect. Germany and Italy match up world-class players at every single position; it all depends on who plays well. Neither team will enjoy a decided talent advantage as both have at times thus far. As a result, we'll see both teams play hard, aggressive soccer; it should be a joy to watch.
The reasons why I think the Germans will win are twofold: 1) The suspension of Frings will create a unity within the team and a teamwide effort to work harder to make up for his absence. We see this constantly when teams go down to 10 men; often they will play much better soccer than they did with 11, because each and every person has to put forth more effort to try and stay equal to the other team... only in this case, Germany will start with 11, but attempt to play like 12. 2) The German fans... I could care less about the 13-0-1 record in Dortmund, to be perfectly honest. Not just in this World Cup, but in every World Cup, the host nation has superceded expectations. Part of this is because of slightly preferential treatment from referees (South Korea was the most blatant example in 2002), but also because the fans give the team an inherent advantage. I think that this, in conjunction with the unity created from Frings' suspension will be enough for Germany to outlast the Italians 2-0, with one goal coming on a counter-attack late in the game.
Two great sides, and the history of the two previous world cup encounters edged forever into the collective soccer minds: the so-called "match of the century" semi final from 1970 and the 1982 final. People can still quote the team lineups and the goal scorers from back then. So this could be another great one for the history books. Unfortunately, though, the build up to the match has been marred by the psychological warfare between Italy and Germany over the last 2 days. I predict the match will be an ugly affair with some incidents on the field maybe red cards (not sure against which side). The home crowd will be hostile, emotions will run high. Maybe I am overly pessimistic, but I am afraid that good, honest sportsmanship will take a backseat to diving, game delaying tactics, faked injuries, and the likes. Hopefully, the match will prove me wrong!
Being a huge germany fan, I'm really sad to see Frings miss this one out. But let's get real here, it's nobody's fault but his. Say all you want about the italian media, as a die hard german fan, I don't want to win knowing that Frings escaped punnishment just because nobody saw him. Because then, the garman team and mentality I grew up to respect, will be tarnished, and geramns will be just like argentinians or italians who we attack and blame for acting.
Precisely what did Frings do wrong? The player he allegedly hit says he hasn't felt any hit. So either FIFA says the player was abusing drugs or Frings' hand has no substance whatsoever. The ban on Frings is a pretty ridiculous attempt at dodging accusations of having a pro-German bias by banning one German player, and only for one match, knowing fully well they'd be risking retaliation by Frings and/or DFB if they had been more harsh. FIFA wanted to avoid being smeared by the Italian press, that's all. A shame that such politics taint a world cup semifinals match. Claiming a player was assaulted when the player didn't notice a thing is the incarnation of ridiculous.
Italy has a slight advantage on overall talent. Germany will have a slight advantage on game strategy. The loss of Torsten Frings and Alessandro Nesta cancel each other out. Team conditioning will be the deciding factor.
2:1 Germany thanks to U.S conditioning trainers and motivational speakers.
Italy will score first which will give Germany that extra ‘kick’ to score the equalizer and with 10 minutes (or less) left the winning goal.
people keep saying that germany will win in Pk's...that is highly unlikely
buffon is one of THE greatest goalie's....hes never let a goal in this whole world cup. Germany lost to italy 4-1...how can that be explained...sure it was in home turf, but do you really think germany got THAT good? i highly doubt it. Their games against poland and argentina were disgraceful...compared to italy's game with the czecks..2-0
I don't know who is more of a liar, cheat and outright scoundrel - Bush or the Italian football organization. Someone mentioned "class" in the same sentence as the Azurri? Suicides, match fixing, notorious and infamous diving tactics, cheap elbows thrown at opposing players, ...ahhh the beautiful game.
Germnay 1 Italy 0 Italy may have a good defense. Germany has also tightened up. Being home with the crowd behind you will be a factor. Two world class teams in what promises to be a great match, with Germany prevailing!
I have seen every World Cup since 1970 and I have never seen anybody so foolish, so clueless as to say something so stupid. Pekerman's mistake in the Argentina game was to think he could hold a 1-0 lead against Germany. Anyone who knows World Cup soccer knew they where doomed. The only way Italy can beat Germany is by attacking, getting a 2-0 lead, and then hold on for dear life in the face of an onslaught of "furor teutonicus".
Crazy, yes? Well, no.... I don't think the Germans can keep the Italians out of goal, and the first will come early on a corner kick. The Germans will then go on the attack and will be continually frustrated by the Italian defense as shot after shot never touches net. Italy will score a second goal on a counter-attacking move because the Germans will be too far forward in attack mode for too long. Germany will eventually get in, hard to hold them out all game, to make it 2-1, but then a third goal will be scored by the boys from Rome, possibly on a penalty kick, as the Germans come unloose near the end.
Don't get me wrong. I am, by no means, a fan of Italy...however, wouldn't it be a sight to see the World Cup's two dirtiest teams (the other one being Portugal) play eachother? We'd see nothing but diving, red cards, and other theatrics that would run down the clock.
France and Germany would make a beautiful game but since I can't stand Thierry, I'll be rooting for Portugal...and since Germany plays nice, albeit a little boring, I want them to lose.
Please Italian football players read the comments from youre oh so loyal supporters and believe in them. Please underestimate the German team, please write the Germans off even before the game begun.
FYI Mertesacker is, statisticly, THE best defender of the tournament so far and he didn't even needed to foul somebody. Changes he let go against Argentina: Nil. He won every single encounter with an opponent. Made up for a quota of 100%.
Gianluigi Buffon is world class, I give you that, but Jens Lehmann isn't a beginner either.;)
And talk about defence. In the second half the Argentinians played ONLY defence, got Cambiasso and Cruz to do this, instead of an offensive approach with Aimar and Messi. You know when Klose scored? Second half.
Italy only got past Australia with a characteristic piece of theatre. They would very possibly have lost in extra time if the referee had not been suckered. Don't expect Germany to give you that luxury Azzuri - it will be good to see the last of your negative style of football.
as stated before klose is hot...of course so is germany...klose will score one ...then italy will score to tie it up...but germany will score almost near the end to win it...germany is hot...theres no stopping them now
Germany will win! I'm sure. Italy has NOT a great defense, they played against weak teams with a disgusting offense. Argentina and Germany was the beast teams in the WC and germany bate ARG.. Noone can stop Germany right now..not even italy
All this talk of cheating by the Italians and no one sees the way Germany got here. Versus Argentina, so many missed calls and a booking for Maxi Rodriguez when it WAS a penalty that was simply ignored.
And Argentina's "superior" defense? This is what lost the game, Argentina isn't accustomed to playing this style of football, not to mention that the goal was scored against the substitute keeper. Pekerman should have put Saviola in and his ball handling would have driven the Germans crazy, same as Crespo. Thing is, Italy is accustomed to this style of play so it will be harder for Germany to win, unless they have another cheap shot at the keeper. Anything can happen but I think 2-0 Italy.
Yeah Wahl....(is that German?)you really should consider not predicting- not a very good record there buddy: Italy is so vastly superior to Germany that even with a pressured mexican referee, the Hosts will be pummeled......Auf viedersen .......
Italys trip has not been that easy. Remeber they came out of the group of death. Also, for the name sayers who think their playing tactics for winning are dirty, the jealous comments because they win are even more so. Lets not forget who taught the rest of the world how to play soccer, yes including Brazil. ITALY!!!!! The Seria A.
Tough result to predict, as it should always be at the end of a world cup.
Plus for Italy - Germany played hard 120' in the last match; Italy rested against Ukraine - Totti and Toni might be on the upside - Strong defence and fast break - They actually faked injuries much less than usual; much less than most other teams, infact. I think this is no coincidence and it also has something to do with the nice treatment they got from the referee (EG: they would not have gotten a penalty against Australia if they had dived the whole game).
Plus for Germany - Homefield - They are fit - Italian players are not fit, Totti and the strikers in particular - Pirlo best game was the first time and he has steadily declined since. - They are likely to win at penalties, so a draw can be ok for them - The italian defence has slipped in a number of occasions and it might do so again. - Totti appears overconfident, so he might keep wasting opportunities with theatrical, pointless stunts (In 2000 or 2002 he kept trying to score directly from corner kicks!)
Germany will only make it to finals if they are lucky enough to score a goal. If ITaly scores first then Germany is history. Italy is a way better team and has not been defeated in the last 23 games because they can play defense very well and they know how to control the ball. These accompolishment cannot be possible from "diving all the time" so just stop whining. Germany lost miserably to Italy in a warmup match to Germany earlier this year 4 -1.
Must I go over this again?
Italy historically beats Germany in every match so odds are against them. The only advantage to Germany is the hundreds of thousands of fans that will boo and somehow convince ref to eject an Italian player. As far as Fringe's decision to punch an Argentina player just shows the level of maturity this club has. Germany was going to get in trouble eventually and FIFA did not review the incident initially so they could justify the ban with a evidence (the tape) from one of the many cameras at the match. The 200 cameras are what got Fringe banned and not the Italian club. Do you honestly think one player could make a difference for the German team? If so, then the German team does not deserve to be in the semi-finals. Secondly, German press and only German media is saying that Italy sent a tape of the punch to FIFA. The ITalian team has much better things to do to prepare for a champsionsip.
Do you really think that instead of practicing for the game they are reviewing tapes to gain some kind of advantage? You idiots that hate the Italian team never cease to amaze me with your moronic suggestions and ridiculous comments.
I think the real whiners are the crying little fans that need to scream "cheat" for every game they lose. Italy is in the semifinal because they owned the Ukraine 3-0. Italia will be world cup champions 2006 Enough Said. Germany is in the semi-final only because they got lucky in a penalty kick shoot out.
I'm a Brazilian who lives in the USA. I can't believe all the shots the German and American fans are shelling out at the Italians in here!
Let's talk about cheating first, it seems to me there was a HUGE bribery scandal in Germany recently in which a number of referees were implicated for being paid off in their league as well. So my German and American fans, lets not take cheap shots shots when there are skeletons on the other side and focus on the game. Don't let me start talk about the scandals in the USA as well. We all have skeletons in our closet.
Germany had a weak first round group and they beat the teams they should have and topped their group. Italy had a very tough group in the first round and topped their group. Both did well! In the knock-out stage the roles have been reversed with Italy having the easier path and Germany the tougher path. From here, you have to look at history, Germany beat Argentina because they have their number. France beat Brazil in the same manner unforutnatley! I had that feeling and I know the Germans feel the same thing with the Italians. History does not lie in this case and I see the Italians winning this 2 or 3 to nothing. I wish it could have been Brazil, because my team has both the German and Italian number.
One final note, enough already with the diving points regarding the italians. I don't have any affinity to them, but they really only dived in one game vs the Americans due to the physical nature Team USA was playing. The penalty to Australia was a penalty. The replays show it. For my money, the biggest diving team is Portugal. The way they orchestated Rooney's red card was shameful. They played just as dirty agains Holland and they are notorious for this! Who knows what they will do against France.
Italians are divers, although most sides now are as well. I think Totti will be a playmaking force now that Frings cannot do the dirty work at midfield and Ballack will thus have to pick his opportunities to make runs carefully. If Ballack cannot play in the penalty area, then Germany has no hope to score on Italy. Italy 1-0 over Germany.
I'd love to see Germany win, but: 1) Italy just doesn't let anyone score on them. 2) Frings is an irreplaceable fixture in the midfield and will be missed. 3) Borowski (Frings' replacement) has been an important sub in every game, bringing new life to the team at critical points in the 2nd half - who will be able to step up to take his role? 4) This young German team has got to crack under the ENORMOUS pressure. 5) Totti and Toni have found their form.
I predict Italy, 2-1, which is the same score I predicted for Argentina over Germany. (Yes, that's hope against my own better reason!)
I just can't see Italy winning this game. They simply don't have the talent or the organization that Germany has. Germany 2-0. It's a moot anyway since the French will beat the Portuguese and then the Germans.
italy was up a man on the US and they still couldnt pull out a victory....Ukraine is not a valid opponent the last legit opponent they played that was worthy before italy was spain and got beat 4 nil.... Germany has been the best team in the tourney so far they just keep on winning and beating teams that were supposedly going to beat brazil.... Plus Germany has a chip on their shoulder from the warm up game they lost to italy.......Germany wins 1-0 Klose
Ok, i am sick of the whiners who have to complain about Italy's "diving" hey if it works, why stop? your just jealous cause your country never made it this far. The only thing the germans have going for them is their home crowd, other then that come on people, italy has the best goalie in the game, the best defense, as you can see their offense is coming around. Sorry germany, I am gonna be riding around with my italian flag because we are going to the finals against old timer france. Congrats italy on your fourth world cup, second to brazil. Thats right FOURTH world cup!!! how many does germany have??? thats what I thought! thanks for coming out, just like ww1 and 2, your gonna lose!!!
US Soccer fans: rather than whine about the unfair italians boohoo> You oughta be calling for Arena's immediate firing and demanding that America the Great have a world class coach. That Arena would be so arrogant to think that he is somehow qualified to compete against the likes of Lippi, Hiddick, Scolari, even Parreira and etc. is proof enough of Bruce's stupidity. But even more stupid are we the few US soccer fans for allowing this idiot to lead the fine men in the US team.
Uhuh. The Argentinians thought that, too. They're home now.
"Germany lost miserably to Italy in a warmup match to Germany earlier this year 4 -1."
Totally different circumstances. That wasn't a "warmup" but a player tryout. Klinsman made the team spot-on fit for the World Cup. They were much worse even a week before and have improved from match to match. Back then, there were 11 players on the field, now it's a team. But feel free to lull yourself into safety.
"Italy historically beats Germany in every match so odds are against them."
Historically, Germany has never lost in Dortmund, and those have been a wee bit more games than those against Italy, so your statistics are worth nothing.
mmm even though the germans are playing in their lucky stadium and they have the entire country behind them. I believe italy will end up winning this game. score 1-0 scored late by italy. even though germany has had to play and beat tougher opponenets. italy will meet portugal in the final and end up winning it all. cheating helps win cups everyone! anyone remmember rivaldo's antics in 2002?
Gotta go with the "hometown" Germans here, it looks like this is '98 all over again, when Les Bleus rode the momentum of it's fans to a title, same thing could happen here..
Is anyone else here thinking that in the other semi-final, Portugal will win an Academy Award for "diving" and "flopping" all around the pitch??..I'm glad the Portuguese have gotten the proverbial "monkey off their back"..but let's PLAY now, not act..Methinks Les Bleus will not fall for those shenanigans, and will move on to meet Germany in the final..whereupon, students of history will have to dust off their textbooks and brush up on Franco-German affairs of the past!
Germany has been pushed so far by home advantage and luck. They did not meet tough teams till Argentina, and Argentina deserved to win. They berely lucked out at the penalty kicks. I think Italy will win. Italy's game is not very fun to watch but it is effective. The German defense will show what is worth.
the italians have shown a great defense throughout the tournament (gattuso and cannavarro will hound the germans till kingdom come) and they also have great offensive players. i pick italy to win this match 2-0.
For those that call the Italian team thugs, have a look at the statistics on www.fifaworldcup.org: Italy has committed the least number of fouls per match than all other teams bar Japan, and has the highest ratio among all 32 teams between fouls suffered divided by fouls committed.
The "Frings-affair" doesn`t matter at all. Has anybody noticed, that Michael Ballack is overdue scoring a goal??? That is about to change tonite. Germany 2 Italy 1!!! Ballack will finally have a huge game and scores the winning goal with a header in the late minutes of the game.
i was just reading about how rooney was so upset about his manchester teamate getting him sent off, well last time i check if someone would have stepped on my teamates crotch i would have been in his face not the refs. be men english players. you guys missed the kicks. shutup. is kicking someone when they are down fair play, you tell me.
As long as we get a ref. who does not give away free kicks and PK's because of dives and flops in and out of the box Germany will win. Watch for elbows and hacks by Italy (much like what the did against the US in K-town).
Germany is a proud country and everyone is watching this game. Home field advantage, good young team, new energetic coach and great finishing will bring the cup home to Germany.
Italy hasn't played against a single tough opponent in this whole tournament. They will certainly feel the heat tonight. And while they sure have good players, a real team under pressure this isn't. That's why we keep seeing this Italian solo artists, particularly when they drop to the ground in the penalty box, although being untouched. Anyway, I like Italy, but I am German. Makes all the difference.
The Italians will dive and cry like little babies. Maybe they will win this way (as they have done before) but they have already lost the respect of every decent soccer fan who likes to watch a real game.
Sorry but all those people who say the Italians are 'cheats' and 'divers' are just ignorant, seeing only what they want to see. Italy has played very tough throughout the tournament, they showed a lot of courage at the end of the Australia game, playing down a man (because the Aussie diver rolled around a thousand times and procured a RED for Materrazzi) they finished that game on the attack. They dominated Ukraine as they should have, except for 15 minutes of distraction at the beginning of the second half. Italy has shown every bit as much heart as Germany. That said, I think people are underestimating Germany's talent. They can and will score on Buffon, maybe twice. I'm predicting Germany to win, 2-1, in an excellent match.
Enough already with the cheating tactics, soccer is a wonderful game and in the end the team that wins is the team that wins regaedless if they are favoured or not...be it luck or sheer brilliance, we as international soccer lovers need to respect this and celebrate it. Many of the teams in the world cup have things to be ashamed of so to point to one team is ridiculous and useless because these statements just dont make sense and they dont win world cups!! My prediction Italy 2-0. No overtime, no penalty shots. And everyone out there bashing the Italian soccer team, get over yourselves, if Italy wins it is because they played the better game, fair and square...goals in the net dont lie my friends!!
Italy sucks--saw them play against the US and the Czech Republic and the are NOT good at all. Germany rocks, and they will have extra motivation for the Italian-lobbied suspension of Frings. Germany 2, Italy 0.
Yo...lets be real...home team with fans (and it does matter -i learned to play in germany-you can feel it...end of report)...playing well and just getting better game by game (not pretty soccer but team co-hesive better, better d, passing and an offense with confidence)..italy wont win this game...i say germany all the way...done deal...
all you italian/american supporters and would-be staticians, Germany is THE greatest team to ever play the beautiful game, not including Brazil. Since this game has been played they are the most consistent european team of the last 50 years! That's a statistic!They are always there! Who has been the most consistent so far? Goals scored against? amount of goals scored? Please stop this endless dribble about Italy, please. They haven't even faced a solid team so far! May the best team win, without resorting to characteristic unsportsmanlike behavior! ONE PROUD GERMAN
No doubt Germany's going to win - I'm not saying that because I'm German but because Germany has got the better team and has been playing far better.
Italy is lucky to still be in the tournament at all after more than one not convincing perfomances: Italy - Australia game to name one example. They only got through thanks to a last minute penalty that was no way a penalty - talk about Italian diving deluxe. Australia was the far better team that afternoon wich every soccer fan who watched the game will agree on. I'm not even going to start on the other Italy games.
Overall Italy has an overrated team of superstars that has not been performing at all so far.
Taking all of that into account, there's no question about Germany winning this evening and the Italians know that.
German vs. Italy - the eternal World-Cup match-up of two teams that historically were strong on defense... What has changed though is the German team, a team that has risen from the ashes like a Phenix and is playing, with millions of supporters in the back, the world-cup of their life. It might be true that Germany was never able to beat Italy in a World-Cup before, it might also be true that the Italian defense is one of the best, but certainly the German offensive capabilities (hear hear!!) are a fair match to Italian defensive catenaggio (did I spell that right). Is it going to be a tough game? You bet! But still, 50.000 supporters, a strong offensive line-up and the rage for the out-ragous FIFA ruling concerning Frings will eventually provide Germany with a victory! 2:1 in overtime.
The on to the final hopefully against France!
P.S.: I am German and my wife is French and we plan on having all our friends at our home in case both teams make it to the final!
If the italian defense is as "rock-solid" as against Ukraine, we will be in for a rout. They are playing against real strikers now in Klose and Poldi. You can bet the Italians will cheat and dive, the only two things they know besides destroying games ( see the sudden realisation by theItalian dominated FIFA committee that Frings hit Cruz a day after they had reviewed the very same pictures they then cited as evidence!). But at last in this World Cup Italy will face a real football team and Germany is just too strong for them, too good a country too good a team. Germany 2 Italy 0. no extra time, no penalties.
Oh anonymus at 12:36, you are soo funny, so far both teams have won 3 world cups. and germany has made it at least to the quartes ever since '54. what about Italy?? we will just have to wait and see lol. Looking forward to our team kicking noodle lol.
Germany, stop crying, both sides dive/cheat/foul, anyone can see if they watch, but to say that Italy sent the pictures to FIFA is crazy, Quote (Let me make it clear, there was no attempt whatever from the Italian federation to incite FIFA into doing something," FIFA communications director Markus Siegler said. "The footage was not presented to us from Italian TV stations, it was shown in Germany.) Unquote. Maybe its Germany already looking for a reason to cry foul if they lose. Frings did what he did, so pay the price, just like the Italian guy with the elbow is paying his price. Lets keep it on the field and watch a great game between two great team/countries.
I'm an Italian and I am going to watch the match this evening with a lot of hopes and lot of respect for the German team and for the coach Klinsmann and Beerhoff. They are two gentlemen and very honest person I realy like them.
That said of course I hope Italy can win the match we play better with strong teams than with weak ones. In these cases Italians put their soul in the games and surprise the fan and themselves too. The tradition is with Italy but this will count too less this evening since Germany play at home. I hope we are going to see a great match and if the Germans will win in a clear and fair way I will be happy too and I will root them for the final success in the cup.
After this let me express my disgust for some posts and some shameful campaign apeared on some German newspapers (and replied here in some posts) that used old and stupid prejudices hat should be simply out of an huge sport event like this.
I read many British complaining and insulting Italians for diving skills (that I honestly saw in almost each match) it appears pathetic to see how much anger can make the things in a total different manner. I always had a big respect for the British superior sens of honour in sport and I do approvate their disgust for "great" stars like Maradona when he scored with a hand and he refused after years to excuse himself. But now please, accept the verdict of the match and make it short.
I can say that in Italy no magazine is trying to mount a case for the next match and less than ever trying to insult the opposite teams or worst a whole country. They are expressing now support for our team and BIG respect for Germany, some of you can misunderstand this like fear but this is just Respect - this is our style.
Insults and misrespects are normally things that works as booerang and give more strength and determinations to Italians players. I don't think Germany needs to do that to win the match they have enough good players and traditions to win the gae in a normal fair way and I will cheer their sucess if they win.
We are not Brazilian that suicide themselves after loosing a WC match, we change page and a minute after we are out, recognizing that it was not for us and the other played better, if we win of course we will celebrate our players. If we criticize someone (unless spectacular cases like the referee Mr. Moreno in Korea...) we take this inside and we don't do like some Exagerated English fan are doing against Portugal!
Germans, despite some bad magazines that wrote insults and prejudices stories, are fair and like this sport so I don't expect a fight this evening, you will see two teams trying to win openly and a great match like in the traditions.
About Frings... I am really sorry he will not be of the match... I don't like that there can be later domplains like "if he was of the match..." and I don't think Germany is Frings, they have other good players that will surprise you. We also miss a great player like Nesta but this is football. And it seems that it is more important who saw the punch of Frings than the fact that he really did! Our shameful player De Rossi did an horrible thing against USA and was CORRECTLY kicked out from the match (5 matches off) nothign to say about that! About Italian pressure to FIFA, this is realy funny... we don't have any credit there, if you have long memory you can remember which kind of "gifts" we received when we played at home in Italy '90! s please cut off, anger is something reality is something else!
We saw this in the past... also, the Italians organised a World Cup in 1990 for the Germans to win, when the host team lost in the semifinal against Argentina... It's only fair to return the favour :-)
"I'm not interested in talking about TV evidence," Gattuso added. "Two years ago a private Danish TV station captured Totti, now they're saying we're the sneaky ones for doing the same thing. Let's just leave it and move forward. Let's prepare our game how we need to prepare it.".....haha!
Typical view of a 3. world country. The germans should attack after a possible loss the italian players like the brutal and unfair argentinians did... and if they hit back after 5 fists in face, Italy can play with 5 men the final.
We will send italy home, cause we do have a bigger motivation, ok those pictures which turned out that frings was involved in a *brawl* came from the italian TV and you can believe me, everybody here in germany is very angry about this... Think the guys around ballack think the same and so... now the english press would say....*Germany´s blitzkrieg* is on again. no mery and we´re at home in Dortmund..... From the beginnen of this match, every italian action will be commented bye wissels and more..... Welcome to Dortun Totti, and a nice fly back to Roma
As an american living here in Germany for the past 16 years, I've noticed one thing:
When the Germans know when to show up - they always do. That's what makes them a tournament team. The players do tend to wear their hearts on thier sleeves at the right time.
I have to admit however, even though the Italians bearly beat the Aussies in the dying seconds of injury time - getting that PK (that was definately the WRONG call)in the second round and tied in a bloody war with the U.S. (was that soccer or hockey?)before that - they have excellent defense, plus a Luca Toni that is an oustanding striker. All this, despite the Italian soccer scandal in which almost the whole natl. team has no clue what's gonna happen to their clubs and who's gonna pay them after the World Cup. Therefore, they should be well respected for that.
However, The Germans have NEVER lost in Dortmund in 71 years. Though Italy's won all 4 World Cup matches with Germany - the Germans will reign supreme tonight because of the facts that I just metioned. Plus: Should the game be decided in penalties please note that while the Germans won all 4 PK- games - the Italians lost all 3.
Don't forget 1970! Revenge can sometimes be very sweet.
How true your analysis are. I would go rather for 2.0 win for Germany. The way Germans have come back in the game is marvelous. Italy is no problem. Danger however lies ahead if France dueld in Final and if they repeated the same performance which was depicted against Brazil. Go ahead germany you have all the chances.
Germany:2 Italy:1 Germany is a young and very talented team and has a great country in his back. The atmosphere in Germany is unbelievable ! The best world cup ever! 54,74,90 2006 ja wir stimmen sie alle ein !
Italians have statistically the best defence and won every game in history against Germany. On the other hand Germany never lost in Dortmund...
BTW: 87% of all statistics are wrong! ;)
I expect an emotionally driven game without many goals - no matter on whose side. For this upcoming WorldCup game both teams seem to be pretty equal with slight favours in different aspects. I don't think the 4-1 game of March is a good comparison as we've never seen a lot of convincing games of Germany before a WorldCup. This doesn't mean that they've played worse than they could have, but they are always much more concentrated in the WC.
I don't think we'll see a dive-game. I expect both teams want to outplay each other. Additionally the aggression won't be that high as someone stated (Red Sox-Yankees), as many Italians live in Germany and they pretty much get along with each other. The German team even has Italian cooks *g*. The Italian team has no reason to be aggressive at all (they won against Germany in the past) and for the hosts there are other countries they might have trouble with (I'm quite happy Germany didn't have to play against the Netherlands *g*).
For the debate about the German goalie: Lehmann has been second to Kahn in the past and many other teams wish they could have a keeper as good as the one on Germanys sidebar today. The Italian one might be very good - but don't underrate Lehmann.
Yeah, the germans are at home but aside from that, have they really offered much? And, also, how can they be said to have a much harder route to this stage than Italy? Ridiculous! Germany, are and always were an avergae team overachieving. That they looked so 'impressive' (beating costa rica and poland just before thumping the ecudaor reserves-IMPRESSIVE!)is not true and then they happened to play a swedish team that lost its spine and caved in and looked like they wanted to be home. Then the argentina game where, again, the germans were nothing overally special, and, it must be reminded won on penaltys which are a lottery which both teams could have won. The view that argentina asdie from the S&M game where the serbs were missing vidic and clearly gave up even before halftime game, were clearly not the best team in the tournament of course will also not be mentioned.
In stark contrast, Italy qualified with relative ease from a group containing the Ghanians (who should have it must be said beaten brazil with the chances they had), the Czechs who could have been a force, and the USA who despite performances are no pushover. Then, they had to 'deal' with Guus Hiddink and the Aussies, no mean task again-ask Brazil before facing the easiest game against a poor and lucky Ukraine side.
Then the argument that the Germans have a great goalkeeper in Lehman. I disagree with this- his form for Arsenal was highly impressive especially at the end of the season but one good penalty shootout does not make a great tournament where lehman has, in sorts, been back to his flapping ecentric best at stages. Compared to Gigi Buffon, easily the best goalkeeper in the world now and even this so called advantage looks even.
Ultimately what it comes down to is that the Italians clearly have a lot more quality all over the pitch whether or not they utlise it due to their playing style. The nationalistic upsurge in germany and home advantage may prove to be telling (perhaps even with the referee's descions) but what it ultimately comes down is that there would not have been a more average team in a world cup final, despite what some are saying, if germany reach berlin.
Everyone has polled or voted who they thought would advance in this World Cup and so far it has been one upset after another.Good thing I did not bet money on those odds. I speak from the heart and I believe these games are sometimes won because of emotions.The Germans as excellent a technical team can be are not as emotional as the Italians.Therefore,I believe this could be yet another upset and Italy will move forward to the Final.
Just a word reading all the comments : in each world cup you have incidents, and they come from all teams : you saw Ronaldo dive in the game between France and Brazil, Thierry Henry hold his head in pain after puyol touched him in the chest, I remember a quarter final four years ago when german players systematically commited fouls against the us during corner kicks and so on.
So all this blowng up after italy is, to my view, out of place.
I think in this game and world cup, what it will come down is tactics ; what we have seen is that Italy suffered whenever a team put strong pressure on their midfield and attacked with speed ; this is what happened in the us game (great physical pressure in midfield from the US), in the Ghana game and in the second alf of the Ukraine game.
On the other hand, Germany has been quite unable to put the pieces together and go against strong defenses as their lack of good shots made it clear against Argentina.
If Germany puts relentless pressure on Pirlo, they will conquer the ball and work with a short field to score ; Italy is not able at this moment to really construct the game, their attacking game is based on speed rather than construction.
If Germany scores first, Italy will not be able to come back in the game (this has been the downfall of any italian team of the last 20 / 30 years).
I think that germany scores in the first 20 minutes, (the crowd factor is strongest in the beginning of a game) and win it 1-0.
Somehow the Italians alway find a way not to lose. They are not pretty to look at but they are very good at keep clean sheets. With their typical strong defense and goalie Buffon, it will be difficult for German to score against and the Italian defense is tighter than the Argentina's.
Italy are cursed. I choose to call it the curse of Roberto Baggio, because I am too young to remember 1990. However, all curses must end, and Italy´s ends this time around, at the hands of Francesco Totti. Totti has been waiting years to put the spitting incident behind him. He does it tonight. Italy, after 0-0, in penalties. Totti buries the final one.
My prediction is, that we're going to see a very physical game with only few chances. There'll be lots of cards and the ball will be in the midfield most of the time. Both teams have great respect for each other. After 90 minutes the score will be 0-0. That's an advantage for Germany. Although the Germans are very young, they are mature as players. Klinsmann worked a lot on the mental strength of the players. They'll stay focused when the game is on verge. The Italians are too emotional and they'll make mistakes late in the game. Germany will win either through ps or a goal in ot. I am German and can't wait to go out to a public viewing area and shout as loud as I can: 'SCHLAAND!!
I think,germany will win as they are flooded with confidence and also as it is their home ground.It will be a tough match. THEN PORTUGAL WILL BE DEFEATED BY THE FRENCH HEROES and there will be a spectacular final between the germans and the french In which zidane will take his second and the last cup for his country.(french team is very powerful as they have bet the world champions)
frings is out because he deserved it, just as totti when he was suspended after the euro 2004 match against norway, when a norway tv showed totti spitting to polvsen. In italy everyone blamed Totti and not the Norway tvs. The Grosso dive ? yes it was but also the materazzi red card was a mistake by the referee, no discussion about that ? Italy will play at its best and Germany too, let's hope nothing else will count.
wow, some forget this is a GAME! relax and enjoy watching.
what is it with the old stereotypes of sneaky, cheating italians? if they lose, it will be because of them playing badly. i bet nobody in the italian football team will thank that italian tv station for those pictures of frings. i also thought it's exaggerated as usual, but honestly, even a tiny fist is a fist. and many forget, the interview with the argentinian player cruz who denied having been punched at all was also made by an italian paper. i just hope to watch a thrilling game.
but maybe those italians were so sneaky, they paid frings to punch cruz in front of the camera, so he could be banned, to weaken the german team. but then, the germans outplayed them, by actually paying cruz to provoke frings, and as predicted he would strike back - while making sure the italian camera definitely gets it from the front. so the german team is infuriated by the fifa ban and more determined than ever to win this game... what's your conspiracy theory???
It is going to be a tough game, but in the end Germany will win. The atmosphere here is unbelievable, as if 80 million Germans were playing. Surely the German team will have a great support by us,their fans, and this will carry them into the final match. With Mr. Lehmann and the emotional support of Mr. Klinsmann we need not be afraid of Italy.
I hope Germany wins. Italy will try to unnerve the Germans like they did with the Americans and the Australians. This is what teams do to win when they are weaker than their opponents. They already started with the Frings affair. A red card given in this manner is unprecedented in the history of the World Cup. If Germany can keep their heads, two Italiens will get red cards by the 60th minute, and the Germans will score 2 goals in the last 30 minutes with 11 players on the field against 9 Italiens
Oviously the game will be FIXED. GERMANY WILL WIN.. and Italy will be left in the cold like 4 years ago with Korea. I dont care i still have hope and pride for Italia. Our Defence is Amazing and we have gone VERY far. For that aticle ..."While Germany has had a tougher path in the knockout rounds, eliminating Sweden and Argentina, the Italians have had it easy, dispatching Australia and Ukraine."(Grant Wahl) Its not about WHO you play its about HOW you play.. Those Ranks on teams dont really matter because the underdog can be victorious...In Conclusion if the game is played correctly
Italy 2 - Germany 0
IF Germany has 2 Cheat .. (which they will)
Germany 1 - Italy 0
Im sure it will be an interesting Game.HOPEFULLY played right.
The desperate attempt of the Italian press to destroy the unity and strength of the Klinsmann team has woken the devil in the Germans( and we all know the Devil is a German). They will set the Italian team and entire Italy on fire.The Italians will draw first but the Germans will draw first blood.
It won't be easy but in the end Germany will leave the pitch as winners and advance to the final against France to face the Great Zidane one final time and make the end of his career a great one.Unforgettable for ages. You will see!
Facts: 1. Italy have never lost to Germany(West or East) in a world cup match. 2. Italy have not conceded a goal at this world cup from an opposing team's player. 3. Coached by a more experienced manager, the great Marcello Lippi who won five scudettos with Juve. 4. The Italians are currently playing with three forwards upfront showing their intent and also playing as a unit. They are the only team in the tournament to have utilised all their players so far.
I love all the talk about the cheating Italians. The Germans had their own scandal last year of match fixing and referrees being fired. But none of you would know that, because you are not soccer fans, and you only watch the World Cup every 4 years. On paper, and in recent form, Italy is a better team. Italy should win this game 2-1.
FACTS: 1) The past is over 2) Italy have had no real challenge this World Cup 3) Winning title with Juve in the Serie A is like winning titles with Bayern in the Bundesliga... it's a no brainer. 4) Germany has NEVER lost in Dortmund 5) Germany has let only 2 goals in 6) If for some god forsaken reason Lehmann is injured, enter last World Cup's MVP, Oli Kahn 7) Italians can defend, forwards aren't strong enough 8) Granted, Toni is coming into form--too little too late.
Germany 2 Italy 1 I think the Germans have a very good chance at winning! they are playing very well and Italy need to boost their game for a good match! Germany will beat Italy mearly because the Germans RULE!!! x x x x
I'm Italian:what i feel is that the very FINAL of the world cup is tonite :) I hope both the team play the most wonderful match ever. Germany is super motivated to win: '70 and '82 vengance,hosting the Word Cup, playing for the whole nation, the crowd...I would not be surprised if they wins :) But both teams won 3 Word Cups,so tonite we will see beasts trying to "eat" each other! Of course I'd like to see Italy winning tonite, but i wont feel bad if Italy loses against Germany..i mean, its better than lose against France ehehehe!! Germany 2-Italy 1 A BIG HUG to all my german friends!!! PS=stop saying Italians played it sneaky and sent the footage...FIFA said they got the footage from GERMAN tv :) Hey,we can't controll the world, c'mon! Giuseppe
The better team is going to win this game and that will be Germany without a doubt!
Stop dwelling on the past and how often one team beat the other. That's all over and done with and doesn't count for anything. It certainly will not help Italy win tonight.
They've been playing a poor tournament so far and everyone agrees on that. Italians being diving queens or not it won't matter as they don't stand a chance against Germany one way or the other. They're going to get the boot big time!!
I won't make a definitive pick. Although, as a Kraut, I favor Germany. However, if Italy scores first, I don't see Germany overcoming it. The Italians don't joga bonito by choking a game to death with defense after they've scored (why don't they just play 8-1-1!). If the Italians score first in the first half, expect a long boring game and an Italy win.
Germans keep talking about this Frings like he was some new Pelè or Maradona. Personally I didn't even know that somebody by that name was a soccer player. He will miss this match because he hit Cruz with a punch, that's all. Rules are clear, and they are the same for everybody. FIFA asked for the clip because they saw it on ARD and ZDF, not on an Italian TV! Bild call for Germans to boycott pizza? As they like it, but better they do not eat it if they cook it by themselves! Italy 2 Germany 0
How could ANYONE possibly root for Italy after that cowardly dive against Australia. Obviously the Italians know they do not have the skill to compete with Germany (or anyone else) at this stage, and will flop, dive, anything to slow the game. Germany 2 Italy 0 Another thought; for a culture whose men pride themselves on being "macho", well.........
Australia got jobbed no question. Italy is the biggest bunch of diving, flopping, falling speds I've ever seen in my life. They are lucky to be where they are. That said, they can win. This may be the most mediocre semi-finals in world cup history. I think any of the four remaining can win it.
It will be close though. However, most people who feel the Italians will lose are just bashing. There were a few comments regarding thd "dive" in the box against Australia. Even if you listened to all the commentators, they all agreed that it was a penalty kick. And if anyone even knows what they are talking about, the ref actually called handball because thats what he saw from his angle, so the "dive" had nothing to do with it. And I don't know about you but if you're running full steam ahead and someon lies down in front of you, you are going to fall. Maybe you have never played competitive soccer. If anyone should be blamed, it should be the defender who layed down in the box and, if you watch the replay, tried purposely to back into Grosso. He had both players beat and had a clear path to the net. The World Cup is awesome but unfortunately it attracts fans who don't know anything about the sport who then make false comments. There's no fluke about not allowing a goal in the tournament.
okay, look, Germany is going to win. thats that, 1-0 because they have a higher moral then Italy. And by the fact that Italy is way to cocky (only the team), and as for Portuagal and France, 2-0 win no problem for France they are the dominate team. but anyway ita going to be Germany and france in the finals. i predidct about a 1-0 win for Germany then aswell. but i still want Portuagal to beat France and see them play Germany.. thats going to be a great game!
Bild called for a German Pizza Boycott? LOL They try hard to match with the English yellow press, so please dont mind. I personally hope for a fair game with fair players, fair refs and FAIR FANS. As a German I hope for a German win although its gonna be hard (3:2 - I want to see many goals). Its better that Frings is out, so nobody can complain when we have won ;) Pizza ... its a god advice I guess I know what I gonna eat today.
I wouldn't be surprised to see a repeat of the Germany vs Argentina game in terms of Germany winning via the penalty session at the end. In any event, I hope the Italians play fairly and don't live up to their reputation as expert divers.
I feel very annoying all this "Frings has been excluded because Italians sent that footage". nonsense. Frings has been excluded because he punched a fellow players, breaking the rules and doing a nasty, stupid thing.
I am sick and tired of all this fuss about the italians being divers and cheaters. They don't do it more than any other team. If the Australian Player didn't foolishly try to stop Grosso, there wouldn't have been any penalty kick, but 90% Grosso would have scored anyway as there was nop other defender left. And please don't believe the press who want to suggest that the FIGC wanted Frings to go out. It is just happening what deservedly happened to Totti in theeuropean championship when he disgraced himself spitting on th edanish guy (who provoked him, by the way) Ah and not to talk about ht egame Danemark Sweden ending exactly 2-2 the only result unfavorable to Italy. Want to talk about being honest and fair play? Those two north european countries certainly did not give a good example. With regards to the game tonight, I really have no clue how it will go and who will win. Probably Germany will win because of their strong discipline and self belief. I love and respect Germany and the germans. I just hope the supporters from both parts will celebrate anyway it goes. I hope for a 6-5 for Italy :). But I fear a penalty kicks end. Forza AZZURRI, and may the best win.
Manuel from Milano Italy, after a lot of spites told from Germany news paper in these days , I hope that Italia win only for this! It's the best: Italia 1 (90" uncertainty rigor!)Germany 0. I don't undestand why Germany police gave a bill if people show the Italian flag.... Maybe to envy.....
Take the previous five games by each side, as well as the 4:1 Italian ‘friendly’ victory in March and shove it out the window. This is a whole new ballgame and all the statistics and historic facts leading into today’s match mean absolutely NOTHING. This will be a RED HOT contest with raw emotions running very high on both sides. The winner will be the team that is most able to convert emotion into solid soccer/football. As a German I can assure you that we will continue to eat delicious Pizza no matter what the outcome (BILD tabloid = garbage) and we’ll even buy our Italian friends a few beers should they win.
GERMANY 2 : 1 ITALY (Based on patriotism, ignorance, optimism, sound soccer knowledge, and wishful thinking)
Stop crying with that last-second penalty for Italy vs. Australia, that was not a dive and it was not such a scandal. Out of 100 referees, at least 90 had given the penalty. Though playing very bad, in that game Italy had at least 7-8 chances, while Aussies just kept the ball never shooting against Buffon's goal. That's why they deserved to go home.
Even though I am an American, I played soccer through college and I have always loved the sport. However, to hear people complaining about "dubious tactics" and "theatrics" they need to look at the referees, not the players. The referees are professionals charged with the task of enforcing the rules of soccer. If a team is able to capitalize on the same plays, the blame goes to the officials, not the players.
As for the "Clash of the Axis Powers," I find it interesting that people proclaim that the Italians can only win by cheating and the Germans are the superior athletes. I'm sure we have matured over the last sixty years to forget about the master race, but I can't help but chuckle and see the parallel between the ultimate "Panzer Division" and the bumbling "Squadriti."
Politics and blame aside, it will be an exciting match and regardless of the victor, the fans will win.
Germeny will win easy... this will be the first tough team that italy will play in the wc (except the 10 player czech which they beat) and they will loose. there is no way italy can sit back and defend thats suicide. if they do the germans will kill them with croses and headers. the only way italy has a chance to win is by theatrical talent and with the help of the ref. ger 4-0 ita
for the first time, i watched soccer as italy beat australia. had no idea soccer is so interesting although the rules are not yet known to me. carefully watched the replays of the "foul" against australia and could not detect where it had occurred. surfed the internet for rules, et cetera, about soccer but came away empty. will watch, for sure, the game with Germany vs Italy and root for a great game, no matter who wins......
The Italian team will undoubtedly play up for the occasion, but much rests on Totti and Pirlo to set the tone. Argentina controlled the ball against Germany for a half, and then let things slip in second time. Totti has yet to show that he can prove dangerous on anything besides set pieces. That leaves Pirlo to distribute and create enough space on counter-attacks to get Toni and others good chances. For the Germans, the key will be in stretching out the Italian defense. Ukraine had their best offensive chances moving the ball side to side and keeping the back four from getting set. My prediction: Italy scores one on a counter attack, one on a set piece. It's enough to end the German dream. Italy 2, Germany 1.
I live in the United States and must say that I am disgusted with the lack of interest and coverage of the World Cup here. I'm very excited about the German-Italian game today. They both are good teams, but Germany has the advantage with the huge home support. It's going to be very fun to watch. Oh, and I hate American football.
I'm the Italian boy again...you know what? Basta pizza now! Tonite I'll be watching the match eating wurstel and potatoes, unfortunately no good beer around here :) So..Hans, friend of mine, if you read this message you'd better eat spaghetti w/out that disgusting sauce you make, maybe use that Barilla brand i told you :) ahaha turn the webcam on during the match so we can be pissy togheter ;) Giuseppe
I don't want to tell you that Italy will win, but i must tell you that we have lots of motivations: our national tournaments lost credibility and one of our most loved player ( pessotto ) is fighting for the life. our champions have a very very big heart, and they'll show it thoght the stadium is crowd of germans. FORZA AZZURRI L'ITALIA è CON VOI!!!
no way italy wins t5his game. much better sides thean them have gone into dortmund and lost. Sure they have a grewat defesne, but they have not played anybody like Germany yet. Klose and podoski will be able to get opportunities against the axxuri. lehman is in top form. germany is undefeated in dortmund in 71 years. 1-0 germany.
Although germany is a great and favorite team of many, i think that italy will win it due to pure defense from buffon and others. Italy will not let in a single goal in my opinion and after italy slips one in, the germans will go pro offensive and allow italy to score another late in the game...
Ask any Bundesliga coach if they 'enjoy' playing against a team from Italy, and the answer "Nein". This is NOT going to be a 'pretty' match. If anything it's bound to be a ruthless, foul-filled match similar to the US v Italy match which ended in a 1 : 1 draw. If the German team makes the mistake and plays similar to the style in the Argentina match-up, they'll lose. Whatever happened to the new, fresh and aggressive style from the previous matches? Italy has almost always been victorious in WC competition against German teams. The 'home-advantage' doesn't lead to more goals for the home team. That's why I tend to believe that the Italian team will pull this one off and meet the French team in the final game.
I watched a "friendly" soccer match on a beach in the south of France 30 years ago (1976). These people didn't like each other in 1944, 1976, and now: things will only get worse today and it will be ugly. They deserve each other.
The German media has outraged the soccer world by calling the Italian team greasy. My God, old and lackluster would have sufficed. Put a diaper on Totti and give him some Geritol for this one. Germany 3 Old Italy 0. This will not even be Klose.
Wow, lots of people cheering Italy on here with no fear of Germany at all! Good for them, let them enjoy those thoughts now while they can as Italy will be removed from the world cup today. As far as the Frings suspension, can anyone tell me how Fifa is going to leave Figo play after the head butt??? Seems like Fifa wants Italy vs Portugal, hopefully the remaining games will be decided by the players, and not refs or other biased Fifa officials!
Well, that was pretty predictable...At home in March, Italy whipped them by the three goals, and in the Fatherland we had to settle for two. If Italy were lucky with two late goals (gee, why doesn't the US ever get that lucky?), Germany were lucky not to be down at least 1-0 at the end of the first overtime. Not bad for overly defensive, greasy, lazy, parasitic life forms who play ugly football. Seriously, sorry to gloat, but after some of the garbage Italians had to endure over this Cup from fans, commentators, players from all over the world...Stuff that went beyond football commentary and crossed into bigotry. So folks Finally, as to how anybody with any knowledge of the game thought that Germany were favorites is beyond me. All Italy had to do to negate 75% of their attack was mark Klose and Podolsky. All Germany had to do to negate the Italian attack was mark every one of the Azzurri (with the exception of Buffon and Lippi), and not let up for 120 minutes. Catenaccio my rear.