The thought is that Italy will play its conventional defensive style to withstand the German onslaught may be a little misleading. Look to the Germany-Portugal game for examples of how poorly Germany dealt with such tactics and how many chances Portugal had to score (especially in the last 15 minutes). Keep in mind that the German backline is fresh off conceding two goals to a virtual non-existent Greek attack and could we see the return of Lars Bender for Jerome Boateng? Doubtful.
Germany needs to play with the same ball control attacking style that they displayed in the Greece match albeit with even better finishing in order to finally defeat Italy. So hopefully Marco Reus will remain in the starting 11 at the expense of Lukas Poldolski, keeping a sustained pressure on the Italian defense, quick ball passes and incisive cuts leading to goals. Mesut Ozil played his best game of the tournament by far and while the Greeks conceded ground willingly, the tactic of giving Ozil another skilled playmaker in Reus and Schurrle’s ability to make runs certainly was not lost on this viewer. The latter had some sloppy moments so if Muller returns to the fold and Reus moves to the left side Germany would not be sacrificing anything.
IF Germany were to score early that could lead to a long day because that will force the Italians to push out of a comfort zone and open up even more holes like England & Argentina did in 2010. More holes, equals more Ozil’s ball handling and time to pick apart a spread out defense. But that is no small task; Buffon looks in top form and has the experience of beating Germany in a do-or-die game.
As for Italy, the idea that they are considerable underdogs is laughable. Yes Germany has scored lots of goals, but Italy tied Spain in their first group game in which they were equals on the field in my humble opinion. The Spanish groused about the hard field, but what can’t be denied is that Italy did not sit back and play a completely defensive game. Pirlo is having a fantastic tournament and along with the aforementioned Buffon, they are two of four (or five players) on the current roster that were in Dortmund in 2006 and beat Germany in Germany so the thought of playing them in Warsaw is certainly less daunting (especially with some of the holes that have been exposed in the German defense).
If Reus plays, Germany finally cracks the Italian riddle and wins 2-1. It won’t be easy on this fan’s nerves. If Poldolski starts all bets are off.