Germany are determined to snap their tournament losing streak to Italy dating back almost half a century when the two meet in a Euro 2016 quarterfinal on Saturday in Bordeaux, players said on Wednesday.
The world champions have lost to Italy in every single tournament knockout match they have played against them, starting from a 1970 World Cup semifinal.
They also lost the 1982 World Cup final, a 2006 World Cup semifinal in Germany and a Euro 2012 semifinal to them.
The Germans, four times World Cup winners like the Italians, have also met Italy on four occasions in group stages of tournaments, drawing every time and failing to record a single win over them.
“We have matured and developed but we know that everything is possible,” Germany’s goalkeeping coach Andreas Koepke told reporters. “We know we have to bring a top performance but we are ready, ready to rewrite history.”
Germany, who have won just eight of their 33 encounters against Italy since 1923, have yet to concede a goal in their four matches of the tournament and, after winning the 2014 World Cup, are deservedly among the title favourites in France.
Central defender Mats Hummels played in the losing semifinal in Warsaw four years ago but said he was not interested in what happened in the past.
“I played only once against them (in a tournament),” he said, “In friendlies, I think we drew twice 1-1 and then won 4-1 (in March). The recent past since 2012 proves we can keep up with them but Italy are just like us, a tournament team.”
“As for the past, I don’t know what to say if a team failed to win in the 1980s or so.”
The Germans will need a tight defence against the surprisingly attack-minded Italians but they will also have to break past their solid backline that has let in just one goal so far.
Striker Mario Gomez, who has netted twice in the tournament and could again be spearheading Germany’s attack on Saturday, said the time had come to beat Italy.
“It will no doubt be an extremely tight game but I am convinced that we will be the winners at the end,” Gomez said.
“We want to go further. We believe in us and have to show it on the pitch. I can discuss after the final if the Euro was good for us or not. At the moment it is a good Euro so far but we have to keep it going.”