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HindustanTimes Sat,02 Aug 2014

Forget history, demands Loew ahead of Italy clash
AFP
Gdansk, Poland, June 27, 2012
First Published: 08:47 IST(27/6/2012)
Last Updated: 08:50 IST(27/6/2012)

Coach Joachim Loew has told his team to forget past disappointments and just focus on beating Italy in Thursday's Euro 2012 semi-final as Germany hunt a first tournament win over the Azzurri.

Germany have never beaten Italy in a competitive match, losing three times and drawing as many in World Cup finals and European Championships.

They also met in a World Cup qualifier in 1962 with the game ending in a draw and Italian playmaker Andrea Pirlo has said the Germans are running scared of their record against Italy ahead of the Warsaw semi-final.

But Loew was defiant when asked about the lack of German success against the Azzurri over the years.

"We can't turn back time, forget about about it, the past doesn't play a role in our planning," said Loew.

"Another stat is that Germany has never won against Italy in a major tournament, but so what?

"The situation is entirely different now and this is not an issue for us."

German fans know all about Juventus midfielder Pirlo from six years ago in Dortmund when the 33-year-old's stunning pass set up Fabio Grosso's extra-time goal in Italy's 2-0 victory in the 2006 World Cup semi-final.

But Loew says he is less interested in the Italians and more concerned with what the Germans can do as they look to add to their record 15-game winning streak in competitive matches since losing to Spain at the 2010 World Cup.

"(Italy) have performed well during this tournament, but we also know where they have had difficulties and might face a few problems," said Loew.

"What will be important at the end of the day is that we try and play our own game and take it to the opposition, not vice versa.

"If we manage to do that and play at a very level of concentration, with a solid performance at the back, we have every right to be self-confident.

"With a little help, we will win the game."

Germany's star midfielder Mesut Ozil, who will be up against Pirlo in the middle of the pitch, echoed Loew's sentiments.

"We are concentrating on the here and now," said the 23-year-old.

"We are looking forward to the semi, which will be very difficult, but we are confident we can beat anybody.

"Italy are surprisingly strong, you could also see that in the very good (1-1 draw) they had against world champions Spain (in Group C).

"I think they deserve to be in the semi-finals. They are compact, very strong, but in general we look only at ourselves.

"If we play as we can, I am convinced we will beat Italy."


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