Italy look formidable opponents for the world champions on Saturday night.
Germany v Italy - Saturday 2nd July, 20:00
World Champions Germany put in their most impressive performance of the tournament so far in beating Slovakia 3-0 and they’re still yet to concede a goal, while Italy’s 2-0 win over Spain together with their victory over Belgium by the same scoreline in the group stages has silenced the doubters who described this team as the "worst Italian side in years". Both these sides have a rich history in international football and have won the World Cup in the last decade, but they’ve both lost out to Spain in the final of the last two editions of this tournament and they’ll be eager to make amends this time around.
Germany have now gone 488 minutes without conceding a goal and if we focus solely on tournaments, the only time they’ve conceded in their last nine games was in the 7-1 humiliation of Brazil at the World Cup. Germany’s record against sides that they’re ranked higher than but are in the world’s top 20 is W9-D1-L1 at tournaments since 2010, as the only one of these games that they failed to score in was the goalless draw against Argentina in the World Cup final.
The only goal Italy have conceded in their last six matches came against the Republic of Ireland in their final group stage game when Conte fielded a weakened side. Indeed, that defeat against Ireland was one of only four losses Italy have suffered in their last 31 competitive games going back to the last Euros. Their record against sides ranked above them is W3-D3-L2 in competitive games since 2012, with those defeats coming against Spain in the final of the last Euros and Brazil in the Confederations Cup.
Within that sample was a win over Germany themselves at the semi-final stage of the last Euros and that was one of four wins (one came in extra-time) that the Italians have had over Germany in eight meetings at major tournaments. Germany are yet to come up against a side that are within the top-20 of our rankings at this tournament and the highest ranked team that they’ve played so far, Poland, certainly had the better of the goalless draw they played out in the group stages. Since the Italians have proven themselves against two top teams in Belgium and Spain, it’s worth siding with Conte’s men to extend that unbeaten record against the Germans.