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Klose insists the ghosts of '06 semi won't haunt current side

SO much praise is so often heaped on Germany for the mental toughness they display in football, often topped with a slice of arrogance -- and there was more evidence of that with the newspaper Bild declaring: "No-one can stop us now" as the team prepared for tonight's semi-final against Italy in Warsaw.

And yet the Italians are a formidable proposition: Germany have not beaten them for 17 years and never in a major tournament in a record that covers three defeats, in the closing stages of World Cups, and four draws.

The statistics meant the striker Miroslav Klose felt moved yesterday to claim it was "silly" to suggest Germany had a "mental block" when it came to playing Italy even if the wounds of the 2006 World Cup semi-final defeat, a 2-0 loss after extra-time, on home soil, have left scars.

"I think it is silly to talk about a mental block (against Italy)," Klose, one of two survivors, along with captain Philipp Lahm, from that bitter encounter argued.

"Yes it was a trauma (in 2006). It lasted a bit but now it is gone.

"This was six years ago and we have a different team and I am convinced we will do things differently."

Germany coach Joachim Low maintained the match is not about gaining retribution. He said: "In football there is no such thing as revenge."