'Now is the time for Germany players to create a golden moment'

Euro 2012: Germany v Italy

  • Venue: National Stadium, Warsaw
  • Date: Thursday, 28 June
  • Kick-off: 19:45 BST

Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Sport website

I am confident Germany will beat Italy in Thursday's semi-final and go on to win Euro 2012.

Germany have already shown in Poland and Ukraine that they have what it takes to succeed at this tournament.

To do so, they now have to show us that they can step up and produce those qualities in the really big games.

They reached the final of Euro 2008 and the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup and now they need one or two of their players to create a golden moment so they can make the next step and win it.

Joachim Loew has done a fantastic job since taking over as manager after the 2006 World Cup and I have been in touch with him since the tournament started.

Highlights: Germany 2-1 Netherlands

"Jogi" was my assistant when I was Germany coach from 2004 to 2006 and he is my friend now. I am proud of what he has done with his team.

We text each other before and after games and he knows I am going to be at the semi-final in Warsaw for the BBC.

What am I expecting from Italy? Looking through both teams it looks like it will be a very even battle and obviously I am keeping my fingers crossed for a Germany win.

Both Germany and Italy have some key players and it will be down to one or two of them to put their stamp on the game to win it.

Who will be the difference maker? Either Miroslav Klose or Mesut Ozil for Germany, or Daniele De Rossi or Mario Balotelli for Italy.

But you can go through all the names in their midfield and forward lines and all of them are capable of making the difference.

In Italy's win over England in the quarter-finals, it was Andrea Pirlo who stood out.

When my United States team played Italy in a friendly in March, I told one of our strikers - Clint Dempsey - to sit on Pirlo and that stopped him doing to us what he did to England.

I think Germany will do something similar but I don't think they will change their 4-2-3-1 formation to do it.

For whoever is part of their three-man attacking midfield behind the striker, an important part of their job will be to close down or to at least bother Pirlo.

LAWRO'S PREDICTION

"Germany have lived up to their pre-tournament billing. They have made lots of chances in games. Yes I think you can get at them but it is the same for every team."

So it depends on how Loew rotates those guys, and on who is playing where, but I am certain that there will be a plan to interfere with Pirlo's play much more than England did, although there are also lots of reasons why Italy will be worried about Germany.

It was a sacrifice for Dempsey to do a lot of defending against Pirlo but it just needed explaining to him why I needed him to do it and he executed it with a lot of energy. It was wonderful to watch and he even scored the winning goal for us too.

Any player has to do whatever the coach asks him, simple as that. There is no other choice when the coach tells you what the team is doing and where you are playing.

England could maybe have done the same with Wayne Rooney on Pirlo, but I don't think Rooney was in good enough shape to do it. If they had a plan to stop Pirlo, then it didn't work.