The two biggest European football countries will face each other tomorrow for a friendly at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium in San Siro, Milan.
With seven World Cup titles combined, Italy vs Germany doesn’t need any particular presentations. The clash is simply another manifestation of football history and glory.
As a matter of fact, it is not a coincidence that the famous “game of the century” was actually an Italy vs Germany in occasion to the 1970 World Cup semifinal at the Azteca Stadium of Mexico City. The game, which ended the regular 90 minutes on a 1-1 draw, finished with a 4-3 victory for the Italians. Five goals were scored in extra time that provided priceless emotions to fans all around the world. Without a doubt, football has never witnessed again such a historic moment that could be similar to that one.
Quite frankly, the match can hardly ever be taken as a friendly, despite no points will be contended. The fans are very aware of it, as well as the players and the managers, who will be approaching the game with the highest desire to win, just like they would do for any important competition.
Moreover, given the huge history of rivalry that has been going on for decades between each other, no team can particularly afford to lose. Despite the obvious prestige that lays behind the victory, each side is highly motivated to win for different reasons.
For Germany, the victory would mean revenge over a country that they had never been able to defeat in official matches. For Italy, instead, the victory would result in another episode of a long tradition of superiority over the Germans.
As a matter of fact, out of the 31 matches ever played between each other, Italy has won 15, drawn nine, and lost only seven. The last time Germany ever beat the Azzurri was in a friendly occasion back in 1995, in which they won 2-0. Since then, they have added two ties and four losses, including the memorable semifinals of 2006 World Cup and 2012 Euro Cup.
However, despite Italy represents the so-called black beast for Germany, objectively speaking the Teutons arrive to this match in a higher form than the Azzurri. To many, Germany is on it’s way to replace Spain as the dominating country in Europe, with a magnificent generation of players that have finally reached maturity. Italian football, on the other hand, is currently going through one of the most difficult moments of its history, in which only the never-ending winning spirit in some of its players could be able to hide.
In short, the match of tomorrow will present the finally successful current generation of the Germans against the famous old-guard of the Italians.
Italy (4-3-1-2): Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Criscito; Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo; Thiago Motta; Balotelli, and Osvaldo.
Germany (4-2-3-1): Neuer; Lahm, Hummels, Howedes, Schmelzer; Khedira, Kroos; Schurrle, Draxler, Reus; and Muller.
Unfortunately for fans, Daniele De Rossi is not on the starting formation for minor struggles, and Bastian Schweinsteiger did not even make the trip to Milan. A challenge in the midfield between them could have been the most interesting aspect of tomorrow’s match.
The final score will not determine how well both teams will do in the World Cup. Both managers will have another six months to prepare their teams as best as they can. However, beyond the prestige of the game itself, the clash can easily be a great preview to a challenge that could take place at any stage of Brazil 2014.