Germany captain Phillip Lahm has promised fans a “footballing classic” in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 regardless of the outcome of England’s quarter-final match-up with Italy.
The Bayern Munich left-back is also hoping England beat the Italians as he believes it will make for an easier semi-final for his side on Thursday.
Lahm has been ever-present for the Germans throughout the tournament and is now looking forward to the upcoming fixtures.
He said: “I think Italy are a bit stronger, cleverer and tactically well-schooled and they are harder to beat.
”England have their class and they have changed their game a little to be more defensive now and it is not so easy to face either of them.
“Whoever we meet, it is going to be a footballing classic,” he said. “What more could you want than to meet such an opponent in the semi-final?
”I am looking forward to a classic. One thing is for sure, we are going to have to work hard to get through and we cannot presume we have won.
“But our overall aim is to win this tournament,” he added.
The left-back also looked beyond the semis and said that meeting Spain in the final would be difficult after Germany were knocked out by the defending champions in both Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup.
”They are totally proving their quality,“ he said. ”They are the team to beat.“
”You see the way they played yesterday - that was impressive. France had practically no chance, above all in the first half - I am not sure if they even had the ball for more than two seconds.”
The Spaniards knocked France out of the competition in a game which saw former-Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso net two goals. Spain maintained much of the possession and dominated the French who struggled with just a single shot on target.Reuse content