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Low: We must show our strength now

GERMANY boss Joachim Low is counting on his cheeky boys to secure a place in the Euro 2012 final.

Despite being overwhelming favourites to set up a repeat of the 2008 final in Kiev on Sunday, Germany must overcome the weight of history.

In seven competitive meetings with Italy, they have yet to come out on top.

This time should be different, with Low banking on the personality of his emerging crop of players to impose itself at Warsaw's National Stadium tonight.

"We will bring our strengths to the game," he said.

"We will try to dictate our rhythm and won't let Italy show us how we have to play.


"It's a confidence thing. We have to be cheeky, strong and brave. We have to concentrate and work very hard.

"I don't think we have to worry too much about our opponents. We have to impose our own ideas."

Germany will not want to let Andrea Pirlo have the type of space he was offered by England.

Low may be a big admirer of the Juventus midfielder, but he intends for Germany to take the initiative from him.

"Pirlo is not just a very good player, but the player who dictates the tactics and gives the team their ideas," said Low.

"He's the Italian player who directs the game. We have to disturb him, stop him playing, get in his way, and think of a way how we can do better than Italy in midfield."

Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has confirmed he will be fit to take part.

Schweinsteiger complained of a sore ankle after the last-eight win over Greece on Friday.

However, the Bayern Munich man has shrugged off the problem and will take his place in the German side aiming to record their first competitive win over Italy.

"I am 100 per cent fit and very much looking forward to the game," he said. "I have trained twice fully and I feel good."

Low is expected to bring back Arsenal new-boy Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller and tournament top scorer Mario Gomez after surprisingly leaving all three players out of his starting line-up last time out.

Low's decision to rest the trio raised an eyebrow.

But the Germany coach is unrepentant.

"I don't make my decisions dependent on what could happen," he said. "I made my decision based on my own conviction.

"Before the Greece game I had the feeling in the last third of the game we had the right players who could play well against their defence."

Interestingly, Schweinsteiger revealed that Germany have not practised penalties.

However as Roy Hodgson argued, the best way of avoiding that lottery is to get better at the actual matches, and he would presumably be impressed at Germany's present world record run of 15 successive victories in competitive games, a run that dates back to their third-place play-off win over Uruguay.

"I personally don't have any fear," said Schweinsteiger.

"Respect is there. Respect for what they've done in the last two years and, given the scandals in their league, their national team is really positive.

"If you don't have any respect you're dumb.

"Italy are a great nation, have won a lot in the past and have made a big step forward in the last two years.

"The point has come now, though, where we can beat the next big opponent.

"We've beaten Argentina, Brazil, England and Holland. The next one, we hope, will be the Italians."