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Home >> Sports
UPDATED: 08:32, July 04, 2006
Hosts Germany to break jinx of never beating Italy in World Cups
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Hosts Germany will try hard to break jinx of never beating Italy in previous World Cups.

The two soccer giants will meet here in the 2006 World Cup semifinals on Tuesday night.

In four previous World Cup encounters, Italy have won twice and drawn twice.

The two sides have met only once at the World Cup semi-final stage. In 1970, the Italians secured a dramatic 4-3 victory in extra time setting up a final meeting with Brazil.

Germany missed a chance to vindicate that loss in the 1982 World Cup final, in which they fell 3-1 to the Italians.

Furthermore, Italy and Germany have met on 28 occasions, with Italy winning 13 and Germany seven.

The pair have contested six competitive matches which all took place at major championships. Italy are unbeaten in this respect winning twice and drawing four times.

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

So far, German top stars Michael Ballack and Mir0slav Klose, who passed late fitness tests to play in the quarter-final win over Argentina, will again shake off minor problems to feature.

German coach Juergen Klinsmann has the luxury of selecting an unchanged line up for the fifth match in six games.

Klose is currently the top scorer at these finals with five goals and half of Klose's goals in Germany 2006 have come from assists from Ballack.

Klose has a total of 10 World Cup goals and is one of 12 players in the competition's history whose goal tally is in double figures.

As for Italy, Alessandro Nesta has not featured since limping out of Italy's last Group E game against the Czech Republic, though he publicly claimed before the quarter-final win over Ukraine that he was hopeful of recovering in time for the semis.

Striker Luca Toni's brace against Ukraine may have earned him a stay of execution after a below-par tournament before the quarters, but Alberto Gilardino looks set to return to a 4-3-1-2 formation.

That would free Francesco Totti to roam behind the front two with coach Lippi hoping to expose Germany's defensive flaws.

Gilardino will celebrate his 24th birthday the day after the match.

Daniel De Rossi will serve the last of a four match suspension and will be eligible should Italy reach the final.

Marco Materazzi returns from a one match suspension after having been sent off against Australia.

It will certainly be an intensive match which is less fantastic because Italy will no doubt focus on defense at which they are very good.

Source: Xinhua


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