Belfast Telegraph

We're not suffering from 'Italian trauma' insist German stars

Clean sheet: Jerome Boateng and his team-mates have yet to concede
Clean sheet: Jerome Boateng and his team-mates have yet to concede
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

Despite their status as one of the top sides at Euro 2016, Germany's players have had to deny claims that they are afraid of tonight's quarter-final opponents Italy.

Both defender Jerome Boateng and midfielder Toni Kroos have hit out at reports that the Germans have 'Italian trauma' ahead of the game.

Italy have excelled beyond all expectations so far in this summer's tournament having topped their group with a 2-0 win over Belgium in their opening game.

They set up tonight's tie with an even more impressive victory over defending champions Spain in the last 16 by the same scoreline.

The Italians have an imposing record over Joachim Low's side having been victorious in every competitive match contested between the two nations.

On top of that, Germany have only won once in the last eight meetings between the two teams - a 4-1 friendly win in March at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

Kroos claims that this is not an issue for the defending World champions, who reached the quarter-finals with a dominant 3-0 win over Slovakia on Sunday.

"Why should I have an 'Italian trauma'? You'll have to explain that one to me first," the Real Madrid midfielder questioned. "I haven't played that often against Italy, so the previous matches have nothing to do with me.

"They are hard to play against, they have been like that for years. Italy will be the strongest team we've faced until now. But I'm looking forward to it and I'm very optimistic."

Germany are the only side left in the competition yet to concede a goal despite coming into the tournament on the back of an eight-game streak where they failed to keep a clean sheet.

Getting star defender Mats Hummels back from injury has helped shore up their defence.

Hummels is set to start alongside Bayern Munich team-mate Boateng in the centre of Germany's defence tonight, and the defender has echoed team-mate Kroos' beliefs.

"There are definitely worse things than playing against Italy," Boateng commented. "It is important that we play our own game.

"But the Italians are tactically well-trained. It will be important to find solutions and to put them in trouble."

Italy are likely to be without Roma midfielder Daniele de Rossi for the game as the midfielder is struggling to shake off a thigh injury picked up against Spain.

Winger Antonio Candreva is also a major doubt for Antonio Conte, who is already without suspended PSG midfielder Thiago Motta.

By contrast, Joachim Low has a full deck to choose from for the quarter-final in Bordeaux.



Euro 2016 Quarter-final:

Bordeaux, Tonight, 8pm

Belfast Telegraph