I want to play Italy again and beat them: Loew

BERLIN • Germany manager Joachim Loew wishes the world champions had drawn Italy in their Euro 2016 group, because he has a score to settle with the Azzurri.

Germany have drawn Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland in Group C of next June's tournament in France, while Italy are in Group E along with Sweden, Ireland and Belgium.

Loew is now hoping that Germany will meet Italy in the knockout stages so he can finally taste victory after two defeats at the hands of the Azzurri.

Germany lost 0-2 to Italy in the 2006 World Cup semi-final after extra time when Loew was assistant coach and then went down 1-2 six years later in the last four of Euro 2012, when he was head coach.

"I was twice involved when we lost important matches against Italy," he said. "At some point, I want to play against them again and I want to beat them."

Italy are Germany's bogey team in international competitions as they have never beaten the Azzurri in eight attempts either at the Finals of a World Cup or a European Championship.

Loew will have his chance to taste victory over Italy, albeit in a friendly. Germany host England in Berlin, then Italy in Munich, next March in two key games as part of their Euro 2016 preparations.

Loew says Poland are Germany's biggest threat in the battle to win Group C.

The Poles shocked Die Mannschaft with a 2-0 win in Warsaw in 2014 before losing 1-3 to the Germans in September during Euro 2016 qualifiers.

"They have made tremendous progress over the last five or six years and played two big qualifying matches against us," said Loew, adding that Bayern Munich's Poland striker Robert Lewandowski is their biggest threat.

"We must improve 100 per cent compared to our qualifying campaign, but if we are well prepared, then we will be among the favourites."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2015, with the headline 'I want to play Italy again and beat them: Loew'. Print Edition | Subscribe