Bengaluru, July 2: Italy take on rivals Germany in a crucial Euro 2016 quarter-final tonight (July 3, 12:30 AM IST). Antonio Conte's Italy are in a sublime form in this tournament. They have already defeated two of the strongest teams of Europe, Belgium in the group stage and defending champions Spain in the round of 16.
Playing some great tactical and intelligent football, The Azzurris have impressed a whole bunch of fans. Germany will have a tough time handling them in tonight's massive round of 16 clash.
The Germans and the Italians over the years have developed a healthy rivalry between each other. In almost every major tournaments, they come face to face and Germans mostly end up on the losing side.
The last time these two teams clashed in a major tournament was the last edition of Euro, where Italians defeated Joachim Loew's Germany to qualify for the finals.
As today's titanic clash is just hours away, let us go down the memory lane and have a look at 5 epic Italy vs Germany encounters:
Italy 4-3 West Germany (World Cup 1970, Semi-final)
We start with the famous 1970 World Cup semi-final match between the two giants were legendary German player Franz Beckenbauer played with one arm in a sling. It was a goal galore as 7 goals were scored in 120 minutes of play. Italians emerged victorious after this enormous battle but later lost to Brazil by 4 goals to 0 in the finals.
Italy 2-0 Germany (World Cup 2006, Semi-final)
This match will be still fresh in the memories of several 90s born football fans. Well, who can actually forget Alessandro Del Piero's late winner which saw the Italians through to the finals in front of Zinedine Zidane France. The 90 minutes of regulation time ended in an exciting 0-0 draw. Even the extra time remained 0-0 until the very last minute when Fabio Gross gave Italy the lead and Del Piero finished it off in style. It was a heartbreak affair for the Germans.
Italy 3-1 West Germany (World Cup 1982, Final)
Italians once again emerged victorious in an intense 1982 World Cup final encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Spain. Enzo Berzot's Italy defeated Germany 3-1 thanks to goals from Paolo Rossi, Marco Tardelli and Alessandro Alotbelli. Paul Brightner scored the consolation goal for the Germans.
Italy 2-1 Germany (Euro 2012 Semi-final)
Mario Balotelli single-handedly rancacked the Germans as Italy defeated Germany 2-1 in the semi-final game in last Euro. The Ghana born Italian forward was at his best that night as he scored a brace to put Italy in the final. Out of the two his second strike was out of the world. He unleashed a long range shot at the German goal which impossible for even Manue Neuer to stop.
Italy 0-0 Germany (Euro 1996, Group Stage)
Some fans say that this was the best tied game they have ever seen. Yes we are talking about Euro 1996 group stage game. The Germans had already qualified and it was a mere formality match for them. Italy on the other hand were in a do or die situation where they had to win in order to progress. It was end to end affair where Italy got the best chance of the match. Chelsea FC legend Gianfranco Zola earned a penalty for his time and he attempted a shot at goal. Unfortunately, it was saved and eventually Czech Republic progressed from the group along with Germany.