GDANSK (Reuters) - Germany had some of the pressure lifted ahead of their Euro 2012 clash with Italy on Thursday with federation president Wolfgang Niersbach saying it would not be the end of the world to lose another semi-final.
Niersbach praised the team's stability after reaching their fourth consecutive semi-final in a major tournament and said anything beyond this stage would be a bonus.
Germany have never beaten Italy in a major tournament in seven attempts.
"Reaching the last four for the fourth tournament in a row is a sign of continuity and stability," Niersbach told reporters at the closing news conference at their base in Gdansk.
"It is the federation's wish - it is not a demand but specifically a wish - that we finally reach the very top once."
"Whatever comes after this stage is a bonus and it will not be the end of the world if we do not win because the overall picture is already positive for us."
The three-time European champions have again fielded the youngest team in the tournament, just like at the 2010 World Cup, but have not won a major trophy since Euro 96.
Cities & Stadiums
The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments
|2008||Spain||Germany||Russia / Turkey|
|2004||Greece||Portugal||Netherlands / Czech Republic|
|2000||France||Italy||Netherlands / Portugal|
|1996||Germany||Czech Republic||France / England|
|1992||Denmark||Germany||Netherlands / Sweden|
|1988||Netherlands||Soviet Union||Italy / West Germany|
|1984||France||Spain||Denmark / Portugal|
|1972||West Germany||Soviet Union||Belgium|