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Germany vs Italy is expected to be extremely competitive...

3 key battles to watch out for in Germany vs Italy

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Euro 2016 has been full of surprising twists and turns and has produced some fascinating encounters between the top teams on the continent. 

With only eight teams remaining, the tournament now reaches the business end.

There is no room for error as the quarter-finalists sweat it out for a shot at one of the most coveted trophies in international football. 

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Germany and Italy both want to get their hands on the prize, but they will go head-to-head on Saturday. 

We take a look at three key battles that could unfold on the pitch and tilt the game one way or the other.

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Mesut Ozil vs Giorgio Chiellini

Despite doubts over his languid style of play, Mesut Ozil continues to silence the critics with some brilliant performances. The Arsenal playmaker registered 19 assists in the Premier League last term, only one short of Thierry Henry's long-standing record.

Ozil also remains the chief creator in the German national side, with one assist already to his name in France.

The man entrusted with denying him space will be Juventus veteran Giorgio Chiellini. The Italian defender has been super solid at the back for the Azzurri so far, so it will be interesting to see how he contains Ozil. 

Northern Ireland v Germany - Group C: UEFA Euro 2016

Toni Kroos vs Daniele De Rossi

Toni Kroos has been one of the top performers in France this summer, with a spectacular pass completion rate of over 90%.

The Real Madrid midfielder is one of the best at controlling the tempo of matches and offers support to the frontline too thanks to his creative play.

Roma icon Daniele De Rossi will be looking to stop Kroos from wielding too much influence in the middle of the park. At 32 years of age, Rossi is about as experienced as it gets and is known to step up in the big games. His leadership skills will be vital in midfield. 

FBL-EURO-2016-MATCH30-NIR-GER

Jerome Boateng vs Graziano Pelle

Jerome Boateng is quite possibly one of the best defenders in world football at the moment. The Bayern Munich player has enjoyed great success in the Bundesliga, winning four Bundesliga titles, while also lifting the World Cup in 2014.

The former Manchester City defender's vast experience and knowledge of the game will be absolutely key against an extremely tactical side such as Italy. 

However, Graziano Pelle will be looking to spoil the party. 

The Southampton forward has been brilliant at the Euros, scoring vital goals against the likes of Belgium and Spain. Pelle has won plenty of aerial duels and is almost insurmountable in the air, so he is likely to be Italy's most direct attacking threat. 

Italy v Spain - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016

Who will be the game-change in Italy vs. Germany? Have your say in the comments. 

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Topics:
Germany Football
Football
Euro 2016
Italy Football

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