Paris, June 28 (IANS) Germany coach Joachim Loew on Tuesday warned that Italy, his rivals in the Euro football championship quarter-finals, are not just about strong defence because they have a good list of forwards who can surprise with a counter-attack at any time.
Loew’s Germany steamrolled Slovakia 3-0 to enter the last eight stage where they will face Antonio Conte-coached Italy, who outfoxed two-time defending champions Spain 2-0 on Monday.
Germany bowed out to Italy in 2012 Euro semi-final and then veteran deep-lying playmaker Andrea Pirlo played a big role. But Pirlo is not part of the current team but Loew spoke of the potential of Daniele de Rossi, describing him as very intelligent and creating balance.
“I’m looking forward to the game immensely. Italy were very impressive (against Spain),” Loew was quoted as saying by goal.com.
“Italy work well together in defence and have lots of quality in attack. They are a better team than in 2012. We need to avoid the Italy counter attack and have a good plan going forward.
“They can switch quickly from defence to attack, it’s automatic, even without Pirlo. (Goalkeeper Gianluigi) Buffon brings tremendous calm and their experienced defence is well co-ordinated.
“In midfield, they have players who defend well, like Daniele de Rossi, who is intelligent and finds the balance.”
Loew praised his midfielder Sami Khedira and said that he will be key to planning as he plays with a lot of members of the Italian team who play with him at Juventus.
“Sami Khedira is a clever player and I will be seeking his advice ahead of the Italy game,” Loew said.
He also praised his three players who were substitutes against Slovakia in the second round; Mario Gotze, Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schwenteiger.
“I have faith in all my players. They are working incredibly hard in training. We can use the week to instill new impetus in preparation for the game.”