When and where: The second Euro 2012 semifinal kicks-off from the National Stadium in Warsaw at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by ESPN, with a live stream available on ESPN3.
Preview: With the wealth of quality options provided by Euro 2012's youngest squad, many have tipped Germany to come of age and win the country's first major trophy since 1996.
But in order to so, they will first have to overcome 50 years of unfortunate history in the semifinals. There are few sides that can claim to hold a historical barrier for a country that has won both the World Cup and European Championship three times, but Italy is one of them.
It was 1962 when the sides first met in a major finals and then as in the six competitive meetings since, Die Nationalmannschaft failed to get the best of their European neighbors.
If the two teams produce an encounter in Warsaw approaching the quality on show the last time these two illustrious nations met, then we could be in for something special. In the World Cup semifinal of 2006 Germany suffered one of their most heartbreaking losses to the Azzurri as they fell to goals from Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero in the last two minutes of extra time and failed to make the final on home soil.
Rarely though will Germany have gone into a contest with the only European side to have won more World Cups than them with more confidence.
Joachim Low's side has won all four matches at these finals and their 4-2 quarterfinal triumph over Greece assured the country a world record 15th competitive victory. Against the Greeks, Germany was a joy to behold going forward and fully demonstrated just how far the side has come from just the traditional characteristics of physical strength and mental fortitude that was once the hallmarks of their play.
The contest also illustrated the phenomenal strength this German squad has in depth. Low made what many saw as a surprising decision to leave out Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller and Mario Gomez for Andre Schurrle, Marco Reus and Miroslav Klsoe. That Reus and Klose, in particular, both impressed, and got themselves on the score sheet, was a powerful warning of the firepower running through their ranks.
They are options that Italy would surely love to have. Like, Germany, Italy have destroyed long-held stereotypes about their style of play in this competition as Cesare Prandelli has got his side playing in a progressive, attractive fashion.
But against England in the quarterfinals, the Italians were so nearly undone by their lack of a cutting edge to put the finishing touches on the excellent buildup play led by playmaking maestro Andrea Pirlo. It has been a problem that has quietly persisted throughout their time in Poland and Ukraine.
Mario Balotelli has showed a lot of promise and has been a consistently unsettling presence for defenders, yet he will need to do a better job of turning his good play into goals against Germany.
It is a similar scenario for Balotelli's likely partner Antonio Cassano. His movement off the ball, particularly against Spain, has been first class, but the 29-year-old must be a more menacing threat in the box. Not surprisingly given his recent return from heart surgery there are also concerns over the Milan forward's fitness. Cassano has been taken off in each match so far as he has noticeably tired as proceedings wore on. Italy must hope he will be at 100 percent despite having two days less rest than the Germans.
Both coaches have significant selection dilemmas ahead of a mouth-watering semifinal. Low must decide which of the players who came in against Greece he will stick with. Given that Schurrle, despite a strong spell, failed to truly shine, Podolski may well come in to resume his long-standing position on the left. Elsewhere, Reus and Klose are thought to have done enough to remain in the side.
Italy also had some impressive performances from their squad members in their quarterfinal. Alessandro Diamanti and Antonio Nocerino both took the eye as substitutes, while Riccardo Montolivio made a noticeable contribution with some clever touches at the head of Italy's midfield diamond. But, If Prandelli opts for a more cautious approach, then Thiago Motta may well return in place of the new Milan signing.
The Azzurri have fitness concerns over Daniele De Rossi, Ignazio Abate and Giorgio Chiellini, but all three are expected to make the starting lineup. That could mean Chiellini getting the nod ahead of Federico Balzaretti at left-back, in a defensive-minded switch.
D: Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm
M: Khedira, Schweinsteiger
Reus, Ozil, Podolski
D: Abate, Bonucci, Barzagli, Chiellini
M: Marchisio, Pirlo, De Rossi
F: Cassano, Balotelli
Prediction: The match is set to offer up an intriguing battle in the midfield. Italy will have concerns over the fitness of De Rossi, who needs to be at his best to prevent Khedira and Schweinsteiger, not to mention the sublime Ozil, dominating proceedings..
After playing superbly for 120 minutes against England just four days ago, Andrea Pirlo will also have to make a quick recovery to ensure he can be a controlling influence on proceedings.
The key to the match, though, could well be up front. Germany have been clinical throughout the competition whereas Italy have been anything but. That difference could be enough for Germany to edge what promises to be an evenly-matched and engaging semifinal.
Germany 2-1 Italy