The tie of the round in the quarter finals without a doubt is the meeting of World Champions Germany and Italy. Two teams steeped in history in this tournament and a semi final match up in 2012 when Mario Balotelli scored both goals in an Italian 2-1 victory. Germany are heavy favourites for this game and are second favourites for the tournament behind France. While Germany were impressive in how they dispatched Slovakia in the last round their early goal allowed them to exploit weaknesses in the Slovakian team on the counter attack. Germany though do seem to be coming into form at the right time and with Ozil, Muller, Goetze and Kroos they have game winners throughout the attack. Interestingly where Germany's weakness maybe is at the back where Neur always seems like he has a mistake in him pretty much like Joe Hart. Down the flanks Germany also look susceptible to the counter attack and while it may seem like madness to criticize a team that have not concede a goal yet they have not faced any good teams to this point, in contrast to the Italians who have already beaten two of the tournament favourites in Belgium and Spain.
Italy are always a terrific bet for tournament football they know how to win and their defensive mindset sets them up to be hard to beat. Italy are led by Gianluigi Buffon the best goalkeeper possibly ever. With a solid defence marshalled by Chellini this is a team that will be hard to beat. Antonio Conte has set his team up as a counter attacking side and they have been exceptionally good so far. There is a problem for Conte though an injury to Daniel Dr Rossi and the suspension of Thiago Motta leaves Italy short on the defensive midfielder rock that they have flourished with so far this tournament. For Italian fans they will be hoping De Rossi recovers from his knock to be able to take his spot in the starting line up. Italy will look to Southampton hitman Pelle to provide the goals and he will certainly be hoping to continue his good tournament. One more goal would take him to the top of the goalscorers chart.
I took Italy as underdogs against Spain and I am doing the same again here. I understand that Germany are the World Champions and probably deserve slight favouritism but I think that Italy are going to be a tough but to crack and this could be another game that needs extra time to separate the teams.