Italy haven't lost yet in Euro 2012, and at times, they've looked excellent going forward. Their finishing has been inconsistent and they could certainly do with better wide play, but they're not exactly living up to the 'boring, defensive Italy' stereotype. Unfortunately, they've been handicapped a bit by UEFA in their Euro 2012 semifinal against Germany.
Because of the way the brackets were drawn up, Germany received the benefit of an extra 48 hours of rest. The quick turnaround could be tough for an Italy team who just played 120 minutes. Additionally, they're dealing with a number of nagging injuries and their best player so far at this tournament, Andrea Pirlo, is 33-years-old.
If Wednesday's semifinal is any indication, the difference in rest for the two teams could make a big difference. In that match, Portugal were the beneficiaries of an extra 48 hours of rest. Spain eventually progressed, but they were made to work harder than they have in the entire tournament by Portugal's high press. The Portuguese looked much, much fitter than their opponents in that match, due to no fault on the part of Spain.
Germany, in addition to having that extra rest, are just a tough matchup for Italy. They use the wide areas of the pitch better than any of Italy's opponents thus far, and they play a much faster style of football as well. The combination of their preferred style of football and their extra rest could be a nightmare for Italy.
The Italians have the talent to win even if they're not as fit as their counterparts, but it also wouldn't be surprising to see Germany turn the match into a slaughter because of their speed and fitness advantages. It's a shame, because this could have been a spectacular semifinal if the teams were on equal footing.
We'll have live coverage of the match in our Germany vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.