Germans will end their Azzurri jinx
Our analyst - and FAS technical director - Michel Sablon tells David Lee that Germany and Italy will cancel out each other but Loew's men will end Azzurri jinx
GERMANY v ITALY
(Tomorrow, 2.50am, Singtel TV Ch 142 & StarHub TV Ch 220 - Eleven EURO)
Were you surprised by how efficiently Italy beat Belgium and then Spain 2-0? Are they your dark horses to go all the way in Euro 2016?
SABLON: They played very well against Belgium, and then did it again to beat Spain with very strong tactics.
Before Euro 2016, no one expected Antonio Conte to set his team up the way he did with his 3-5-2.
It is truly a special thing which he has introduced, because you can't seem to put this team under pressure.
They play with their two strikers sitting deep when the ball is inside their half.
When they are in possession, their defenders try to reach the two strikers, who are 30 to 40 metres wide apart from each other, directly without playing through the midfielders.
The strikers will then either spread it wide for the wingbacks or lay off to the central midfielders.
Opponents find it hard to cover the space and put pressure on them, because they can't go forward to reduce the space between the lines.
What about the Germans? What do you think makes them tick in major tournaments even if they seemed to be slow off the blocks during the group stages?
They used to be a team that were just full of running, but now, they have added more attacking and finishing qualities to their arsenal.
What makes them so dangerous is their high levels of fitness and concentration down to the additional minutes at the end of the game.
They have the strength and discipline, and they are physically and mentally strong.
Should Joachim Loew be worried that his forwards are not looking as sharp as they can be ahead of this quarter-final against Italy?
If you are talking about Thomas Mueller, who has yet to score in this competition, Loew doesn't have to be that worried if other players from the second line, such as Julian Draxler or Mesut Oezil, can step up and score.
The thing about Germany is when they attack, they don't go at the opponents' defence with just one or two forwards.
It is usually a pack of three or four strong, athletic and powerful players, so they will be confident with what they have.
Italy's key players - Daniele De Rossi and Antonio Candreva - are unlikely to recover in time to face Germany. Thiago Motta is suspended, which means the relatively inexperienced Stefano Sturaro could deputise. Will the Italians be run over in midfield as a result?
De Rossi is a very important player because he has the ability to dictate play, and to lose key players is never good for the team.
But, for Italy, I don't think it will make a big difference who comes in because of the system Conte has in place, which makes them well organised and, as long as the replacements stay disciplined enough to apply the system, they should be fine.
Germany are yet to concede a goal at Euro 2016, while Italy have let in just the one goal in an inconsequential group game against Ireland which they lost 1-0. Can you spot any weakness in either defence?
No, not really. If any team are to score, it will come from a lapse of communication, positioning or technical control.
In such a big game between two such good teams, it will come down to the details.
I sense that you don't think this quarter-final will be settled in 90 minutes?
Yes, I think it will go to extra time or even penalties because both teams look like they are really focused to defend well.
But you know the saying: "Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball and, in the end, the Germans always win."
I think so, too, because they have no injuries and they are quite a complete team.
It is an amazing statistic that Germany have not beaten Italy in eight games at major tournaments, but we have seen some history made at Euro 2016, and they should be able to be part of that, too.
- Michel Sablon, the Football Association of Singapore's technical director, was talking to David Lee. The 68-year-old former Belgian FA technical director is credited for developing the blueprint that produced Belgium's current golden generation of footballers.
BY THE NUMBERS
4 Italy's competitive record against Germany is four wins and four draws.