Euro 2016: Italy vs Germany… Live!

by | Jul 2, 2016

A couple of weeks ago, there were many who were convinced that Germany were a shoo-in to win Euro 2016 and that Italy had no chance whatsoever. Germany have been strong so far, easing through their group matches and their second match with a minimum of fuss. But it’s been Italy who have, in their own peculiar way, been one of the sensations of the tournament so far. Written off before a ball was kicked, they eased past Belgium and Sweden before fielding something of a B team against Ireland and losing. And then they beat Spain, winners of the previous two tournaments.

There are further twists to this extraordinary story. Italy have played Germany four times in the knockout stages of an international tournament and have won all four times. It’s been international football’s longest running curse for some time, and one wonders whether the psychological edge that comes with this record coupled with the acres of experience amongst their number will benefit Italy. But there’s a sting in the tail even should they get through. Should they pick up enough yellow cards this evening, the B team referred to above could even be called upon again for the semi-final against France or Iceland.

With Germany, there is still a feeling that the team isn’t quite performing on all cylinders just yet. They’ve done what they needed to do – more, indeed – but they still seem to be missing a spark. In a tournament dominated by teams rather than individuals, though, perhaps it’s appropriate that this is the best team in the world. Tonight’s match, however, will be a test of their psychological mettle, if nothing else. It’s the story of one of international football’s most curious stories. Can Germany break the spell tonight?

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