World Cup action resumes Tuesday as Germany faces Italy in the opening semifinal match in Dortmund, Germany.
The Germans will have the support of football-crazed home fans behind them, but Italy believes it will be up to the challenge. Wildly enthusiastic home crowds have propelled Germany to five straight wins. But three-time champion Italy can draw hope from its excellent World Cup record against Germany, with two wins and two draws in four meetings.
Italian forward Francesco Totti wants to write another chapter in his country's competition with Germany. He says it could not get any better than beating Germany at home in front of a hostile crowd. Although Italy dominated Germany 4-1 in a friendly match four months ago, visiting coach Marcello Lippi insists his side will not score four goals against Germany again.
German defender Christoph Metzelder says his team is not overconfident after defeating Argentina in the quarterfinals. But he says the host Germans want more, and have a great chance of becoming world champions.
In all-time play against Germany, Italy has 13 wins, eight draws and seven defeats in their 28 matches. But the Germans have never lost in Dortmund, winning 13 of 14 internationals played there.
The other semifinal match will be played Wednesday, with France taking on Portugal in Munich.Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.