Germany have no time for
statistics or history lessons as they prepare to face Italy in
the Euro 2012 semi-finals despite having failed to win against
them in any of their seven previous world and European
The Germans, who lost to Italy at the same stage of the 2006
World Cup in front of a home crowd, said facts and figures did
not matter with their young squad starved for success.
"Statistics like the one that we have never beaten the
Italians in a tournament do not count for us," said goalkeeping
coach Andreas Kopke, who was in goal for their 0-0 goalless
draw against Italy in the group stage at Euro 96 that saw
Germany advance to the next round.
"We want to rewrite history, a different history," said
Among other high-profile defeats against Italy were the 1982
World Cup final and the 1970 World Cup semi-final.
"Italy have been surprising at this tournament and they
fully deserve to be in the last four," said playmaker Mesut
Ozil. "There was a lot of negative stuff written about them
before the tournament but they have showed how good a team they
The Italians edged past England on Sunday with a 4-2 win on
penalties after a goalless draw over 120 minutes in which they
missed a string of chances.
"But we know who we are and what we can do. We do not look
back, just forward. We are not interested in the past. If we
play as we know we can then we can beat them," said Ozil.
Just like 2006 when Italy were eventually crowned world
champions, the team came into the tournament with unwanted
headlines at home of a domestic match-fixing scandal.
"They have had the advantage of no one really rating them
highly with the match-fixing scandal just like in 2006," said
Kopke. "But even without having many top names they have played
Kopke had special praise for Italian keeper Gianluigi
Buffon, who saved one spot-kick, and midfielder Andrea Pirlo
whose chipped penalty was the turning point for his team in the
"We all saw that Buffon is one of the best goalkeepers in
the world. It is not easy to beat him but our team is in a
position to score against any goalkeeper.
"Pirlo's spot-kick was audacious. With Italy a penalty
behind he goes and does that, something a keeper does not
expect," he said.
"It shows his mental strength but we are also mentally
strong. We are a young team but experienced. I hope it does not
come to penalties and we win it before that," said Kopke, who
himself saved a spot-kick against Italy in the 1996 match.
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