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Euro 2012 Semifinal No. 2: Germany v Italy - Lineups and Match Thread.

Four seconds later, the ball exploded and Buffon turned into a falcon. He flew into the rafters and refused to come down for nineteen hours.
Four seconds later, the ball exploded and Buffon turned into a falcon. He flew into the rafters and refused to come down for nineteen hours.

With Spain having advanced on penalties despite looking rather sub-standard, it remains to be seen who will emerge from today's second semifinal to challenge the supremacy of tiki taka over the world of football. Will it be a repeat of the Group C Match between Spain and Italy, a match exactly nobody enjoyed, or will it be the obvious match between Spain and emerging, young powerhouse Germany?

Germany, the ostensible home team, have had a full two days more rest than Italy, who were last seen dispatching England in a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of football. Germany holds advantages in both rest and talent, so Italy will almost certainly have to play out of their skins to advance, and find new skins to play out of in the final to stand any chance of ending Spain's run of major titles.

All in all, despite having let Georgios Samaras score against them in the last round, Germany should have no problem doing away with a tired Italy side today. This is football, however, so nothing can be taken for granted.

Germany (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Phillip Lahm, Holger Badstuber, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng; Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger; Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski; Mario Gomez

Italy Lineup (4-3-1-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Federico Balzaretti, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi, Claudio Marchisio; Riccardo Montolivo; Antonio Cassano, Mario Balotelli

Chelsea Interests: None, beyond tenuous transfer links, though I imagine most will be supporting Germany, either in hopes of the dream final against Spain, because Germany seem most likely to beat Spain, or because they simply like Germany.

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