Germany heroes from previous semi-finals share their memories with UEFA.com as the Mannschaft prepare for Thursday's UEFA EURO 2012 last-four encounter with Italy.
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Germany are aiming for a fourth UEFA European Championship crown, but Joachim Löw's charges will have to overcome Italy in the second semi-final in Warsaw in order to keep that dream alive. UEFA.com asked some of the Mannschaft's stars of previous tournaments for their semi-final memories.
14/06/1972 Belgium 1-2 West Germany (Deurne, BEL)
Uli Hoeness: This result was possible thanks to Helmut Schön, the big German national coach who was also a great personality. He was the one who managed to bring all these people together. He was a very pleasant man and we all felt very good in the team together with Schön – that's what made such a great team out of so many individualists.
Franz Beckenbauer: We knew that Belgium had eliminated Holland, and that was the great Dutch team from the great Ajax side with Johan Cruyff, [Johan] Neeskens and so on. If you knocked out the Dutch you had to have a very, very good team and they showed that. We knew this would be a very difficult task for us. In the end, we weren't necessarily the better team, but we had more luck.
17/06/1976 Yugoslavia 2-4 West Germany (aet) (Belgrade)
Franz Beckenbauer: It was a different team. Four years had passed and many players from 1972 and 1974 weren't available any more. The team was in transition, we had many new, young players and it was quite difficult for us to defend our title. The Yugoslavs have always had good teams throughout their history – excellent, well trained players – so it was difficult for us. We went behind, but managed to equalise and in extra time we were able to win the game and that meant we were in the final against Czechoslovakia.
21/06/1988 West Germany 1-2 Netherlands (Hamburg)
Jürgen Klinsmann: The expectations to win the title in our own country were very high. And then came the semi-final against Holland, one of the world's best teams then, with [Marco] van Basten, [Frank] Rijkaard, [Ruud] Gullit, [Ronald] Koeman and so on. In the end they won that match, though we could have won it as well. But Holland played an excellent European Championship, with that superb goal from Van Basten in the final and with Gullit, who directed the team. It was a fantastic team.
21/06/1992 Sweden 2-3 West Germany (Solna)
Jürgen Klinsmann: For me the competition in Sweden was difficult because I had been injured before the tournament and was on the bench. I didn't play until Rudi Völler broke his arm, which put me back into the team. From game to game I felt like I came back and I had more and more fun. Pass by pass I made progressive development and the semi-final against Sweden convinced us all that we could make it. We had a lot of self-confidence – perhaps too much – before the final.
26/06/1996 Germany 1-1 England (aet, 6-5 pens) (London)
Berti Vogts: In certain positions I had problems, so two players did not play their usual position. However, they both played excellently and I even think they kept playing those positions afterwards. The important thing was that all the players were ready – ready to give everything and that is typically German. Especially playing in England – we wanted to show on English ground that we could win a final there. We still remembered the final from 1966. We were so strong mentally that even with only nine or ten players, we still believed we would win.
25/06/2008 Germany 3-2 Turkey (Basel)
Joachim Löw: It was a fantastic fight, a great drama, and with the late goals it had everything. After conceding their second goal we were strong enough mentally to come back and it was an excellent move that resulted in the winner. It was hard to take conceding the goal that made it 2-2, but it was a clear sign of our strength of character that we then produced an excellent attack and a brilliant finish. I coached in Turkey and I know that once they get into the groove in a game or in a competition, they are hard to stop. They have great enthusiasm and are fantastic technically. We were worried, but were lucky to score in the 90th minute.