Suspended for Italy's 2006 FIFA World Cup semi-final defeat of Germany, Daniele De Rossi is determined not to miss out on another "historic night" as the giants meet in Warsaw.
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Daniele De Rossi has said that Italy have no intention of changing their style for their UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final against Germany on Thursday. "This is a side that was born to play in a certain way and to change that now would be wrong and pointless," said the midfielder.
Doubts have surrounded the fitness of De Rossi ever since he was substituted during his side's quarter-final triumph against England with a sciatic problem. The AS Roma midfielder is determined not to miss out on a semi-final meeting with Germany for a second time in six years, suspension having ruled him out of Italy's victory at this same stage of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Dortmund.
"I don't need to explain how much I, and all my team-mates, want to play in this match," he said on the eve of the game at the National Stadium Warsaw. "We all want to play in this game. It would be a shame to miss out because of a physical problem, but I'm confident I will make a recovery. I will do everything in my power to pass my fitness test. Tonight's training session isn't a mere kick-about for me, it's a very important test.
"I remember back in 2006 the team we had was a different generation, a different era. I am one of the few left from that side and I didn't even play. It was an epic evening, everyone thought they'd win as hosts but they didn't. They might be favourites again, but I don't see Italy conceding much ground and I'm hoping it'll be another historic night."
De Rossi has made a significant contribution in helping Italy reach the semi-finals this time around, dropping back into central defence for Italy's first two matches, before returning to his customary role at the heart of the Azzurri midfield for the 2-0 success against the Republic of Ireland and the quarter-final against England – a game in which he hit the post with an early long-range shot.
Wherever he plays, he is relishing being in his international prime. "I feel comfortable in the Italy shirt," said the 28-year-old, capped 76 times by his country. "I am enjoying the football we play. It's a very organised set-up, we play good football, and I get the chance to play alongside some amazing players so how can you not enjoy it? It's a lot of fun. The results we've been getting have obviously helped make it fun, and it's a privilege to be considered an important player in this side."
Although it took a penalty shoot-out to get past England, De Rossi is convinced Germany represent an even stiffer challenge. Nonetheless, the combative midfielder stressed that the four-time world champions have no intention of changing their game plan in order to overcome Joachim Löw's side. "We can't change the way we have been playing over the last two years," he said. "It would be wrong and pointless. This is a side that was born to play in a certain way; it has been nurtured to play football.
"We probably won't dominate possession as much as we did against England and Ireland, but that's simply because we will be playing opponents who, in my opinion and as results have proved, are stronger. It will be a great challenge, a more open game, but we won't change the way we play."