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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 08:26, July 04, 2006
Factbox for semi-final match between Germany and Italy
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Where: Westfalenstadion, Dortmund World Cup capacity: 65,000 When: Today, July 4, 2100 local (1900 GMT) Team News:

Germany captain Michael Ballack needed lengthy treatment for cramp during the quarter-final victory over Argentina and may struggle to recover full fitness in time for the semi-finals.

Leading German striker Miroslav Klose, with five goals in the tournament, had to make way late in normal time but is not seriously injured.

For Italy, Marco Materazzi returns from suspension and is likely to take the place of Andrea Barzagli in the centre of defence alongside skipper Fabio Cannavaro.

Up front, Lippi must decide whether to stick with Luca Toni as a lone striker or bring back Alberto Gilardino - most likely at the expense of winger Mauro Camoranesi.

Suspended: None for Germany. Italian midfielder Daniele De Rossi serves the final of his four-match ban.

Injuries: Germany has none. Italian central defender Alessandro Nesta is highly doubtful with a groin injury that has kept him out of both games in the knockout stage.

Key Quotes:

Germany midfielder Torsten Frings: "After beating Argentina we have nothing to fear and after losing 4-1 to Italy earlier this year we have a score to settle."

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff: "The world is scared of the German national team again. We've gained respect for playing a fast, direct aggressive game and for always holding our nerve."

Italian coach Marcello Lippi: "It will be tough for us but also for Germany. We know it will be difficult but we consider reaching the semi-finals not as reaching our destination but as a starting point. From now on, anything could happen."

Key stats:

Italy beat Germany 4-1 in a friendly international in Florence, Italy in March this year.

Both teams have won the World Cup three times. Germany triumphed in 1954, 1974 and 1990, Italy in 1934, 1938 and 1982.

Germany have not met Italy in the World Cup finals since 1982. That was in the final, when Italy beat Germany 3-1 to become world champions for the third time.

Germany striker Klose became the 12th player in the tournament's history to net a total of 10 at World Cup finals when he got Germany's equalizer against Argentina. Gerd Mueller (14), Juergen Klinsmann (11) and Helmut Rahn (10) are the other Germans on the list.

Source: China Daily

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