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Bring on the Germans, says Italy's press
James Eve | July 01, 2006 17:52 IST
"Germany, we're going to beat you!" ran the headline on the front page of Saturday's Corriere dello Sport, which went on to recall previous World Cup victories over the Germans in the semi-finals of the 1970 competition and the final in 1982.
Responding to anti-Italian comment in the German press -- including an article on the website of news weekly Der Spiegel which called Italian men "parasites" and "mummy's boys" -- Corriere said:
"They told us we would pay for the match-fixing scandal on the pitch. They launched continuous and gratuitous accusations at us.
"The Azzurri did well to suffer all this in silence, while they prepared for their biggest challenge yet -- to beat them, in their own backyard. This side has everything it needs to achieve that."
Italy have been playing against the backdrop of a Serie A match-fixing scandal with a tribunal due to deliver its verdicts on July 10 after charges against four leading clubs.
Corriere added that coach Marcello Lippi, after making a mess of his tactics in the previous game against Australia, had finally got it right against Ukraine.
"Lippi put the team on the pitch with intelligence, care, and with that ferocious fighting spirit that had not been seen so far."
Tuttosport also praised Lippi's willingness "to correct himself", while La Repubblica said Italy had played "a perfect match".
"Now it's the Germans' turn to be scared of Italy," it said.
La Gazzetta dello Sport was less tub-thumping, but joined in the celebrations by hailing a complete performance by Italy.
It said the attack - spearheaded by two goals from striker Luca Toni -- finally matched the defence which has only conceded once, and that was an own goal, so far in the tournament.
"After the exhilarating 3-0 win over Ukraine Italy need not be scared of anyone -- not even the home side," said Gazzetta.
"Italy has shown it is a complete side, capable of holding out in defence, but also of imposing its own game."