by Tom Allen
There was some even money on offer earlier in the week about Germany for
their semi-final clash with Italy but while that has all disappeared they still
seem to represent value to me at 19/20 with Paddy Power.
The semi-finals at Euro 2012 sees the four best teams at the tournament
battle it out and the match between these two giants should not disappoint.
Jostling with Spain for outright pre-tournament favouritism, Germany now just
about head the market from the defending champions and it is not hard to see why
when you consider their performances at the finals.
Hardly out of second gear in beating everybody in the Group of Death;
Portugal, Netherlands and Denmark were all dispatched, manager Joachim Low
demonstrated their strength in depth by making several changes for their
quarter-final but it mattered not and Germany sauntered to a 4-2 victory.
That score line flattered their victims, Greece, and Low is expected to
recall forwards Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski for the match with the Azzurri.
That pair will be raring to go, Thomas Muller might also be included, and
Germany have the advantage of two days extra rest after the Italians required
120 minutes to get past England on Sunday night.
Out of action since last Friday, the six days preparation might by key for
Low and his players and Italy are struggling with injuries too after their epic
clash with the Three Lions.
Italy were clearly the better team against England but they wasted several
chances in both normal and extra-time to kill-off Roy Hodgson's men.
That's my worry for them going forward, Italy lack a top class striker, and
if Germany can nullify the threat posed by the brilliant Andrea Pirlo then they
should have too much class in the attacking third.
Pirlo has been the standout player in Poland/Ukraine to date but it remains
to be seen whether he can carry his team all the way to the final against such
quality opponents and I suspect Italy will come up just short.
It is guaranteed to be fascinating but Germany are tipped to shine and I
expected them to be no bigger than 4/5 to get the job done inside 90 minutes.
2pts Back Germany (vs. Italy) @ 19/20 (Paddy