ANY OPPOSITION BE warned. They are confident. Very confident.
As if the exhilarating evisceration of Greece wasn’t enough, the German squad couldn’t help but further reveal the extreme belief running through the team after Friday’s quarter-final.
Lukas Podolski, so outrageously self-assured most of the time anyway, appeared to sum up the mood in the camp. When asked whether he would rather play Italy or England, he responded with a notable breeziness.
“Maybe it could be England there and, if that’s the case, then of course it’s no problem!”
The simplicity of Mario Gomez’s statement, meanwhile, was striking: “We are such a good team.”
The fact is that none of this is overconfidence. It’s realism. The Germans look very close to ending the country’s 16-year wait for an international trophy.
And, if Podolski doesn’t envisage any problems regardless of whoever his team play in the semi-finals, Germany are certainly capable of posing the opposition a fair few of their own… even ones Cesare Prandelli and Roy Hodgson won’t necessarily have thought of. Look at Friday night.
Neither Podolski nor Gomez actually played, with Thomas Muller also on the bench. And, although Jogi Loew put that down to the need for a bit of freshness after the group games, there have been suggestions from near the German camp that the reasons were a bit more complex.
Essentially, Loew sees Podolski and Muller as pacey, power players who are at their best when Germany are playing a more counter-attacking game and need that speed on the break.
Against the increasing number of teams who have realised the need to sit back very deep against Germany, Loew is understood to think that a bit more innovation and ingenuity is needed: hence the inclusion of Marco Reus and Andre Schurrle.
It’s also testament to the integration of the German squad that the alterations didn’t even need time for adjustment. Within the first four minutes of the Greece game, Germany had twice ripped through what had been a respected defence.
“The team is confident and playing well,” Podolski said. “To score four goals in the quarter-final against a difficult side like Greece is good and now we want the final.”
All potential complications for England or Italy. There is, however, one potential complication for Podolski. He may come up against the country which is home to his new club – Arsenal.
“I know Arsene [Wenger] has been at the tournament, so maybe I will see him at the semi-final. I hope so.
“I’m looking forward to next season. I think I’m going to score a lot of goals for Arsenal and I have to say I’m proud to play for them. It’s a great team with a great coach, great fans, great stadium. For me, it’s a very good move.
“I already speak some English so I don’t think it’s going to be difficult for me to settle in… I’m looking forward to it. But, first, I have a job to do here with Germany.”
He’s all too sure about that.