Bastian Schweinsteiger: Italy’s turn to fall vs Germany

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    Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger.

    Germany’s Bastian Schweinsteiger kicks the ball during a training prior to the Euro 2012 soccer semifinal match between Germany and Italy in Gdansk, Poland, Monday, June 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    The day is coming when Germany will finally beat Italy at a major tournament, according to midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. And that day will be Thursday.

    Schweinsteiger and his teammates will face Italy in a Euro 2012 semifinal in Warsaw, well aware of their national team’s record against the Azzurri.

    Italy has never lost to Germany at a World Cup or European Championship in seven previous meetings, and has an overall head-to-head record of 14-7 in 30 matches against the Germans, with nine draws.

    The past may speak for Italy, but Schweinsteiger made it clear that this young generation has no hang-ups about past records with leading international sides — especially since Germany trounced England and Argentina, 4-1 and 4-0 respectively, at the 2010 World Cup.

    More recently, Germany defeated Brazil for the first in 18 years, winning 3-2 in a friendly in August, and then beat the Netherlands 3-0 in a friendly and 2-1 in the group stage of Euro 2012.

    “For years we could not beat the big nations, but then we beat England, Argentina, the Netherlands and Brazil. Now, it’s Italy’s turn to fall,” Schweinsteiger said Wednesday.

    “We have no fear but we have great respect for Italy.”

    Schweinsteiger has a key role to play in central midfield, providing the transition from defense to attack.

    However, he has been playing with a lingering ankle injury after tearing a ligament in February that hasn’t healed properly.

    “I am now 100 percent fit. I have two full training sessions behind me and I am looking forward to this classic match,” Schweinsteiger said.

    As for Thursday’s match, he will be expecting Germany to seize the initiative from the start.

    “We’ll have to attack them early … We are going to need a certain amount of aggression,” Schweinsteiger said.

    Germany goes into the game with two more days’ rest than its opponent, having beaten Greece 4-2 on Friday. Italy’s quarterfinal match against England on Sunday went to extra time and a penalty shootout.

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