Don't think of poor record against Italy: Psychologist tells Germany

Paris: Sports psychologist Werner Mickler, who is working with the German football association, insisted that Joachim Low’s men should not be focusing on the nation’s poor record against Italy but only think of positives when the two sides clash in the European Championship quarter-final on Saturday. The two sides have faced each other eight times at major tournaments and Germany are yet to record a victory over Italy -- a record that has stood for over 50 years. The World Cup holders last faced Antonio Conte’s men in a friendly in March and secured a comfortable 4-1 victory with Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze, Jonas Hector and Mesut Ozil getting on the scoresheet. “A bogey team can exist only in your mind. Now there is the question of how many players have experienced that. Then it’s important how to deal with it,” Mickler, who works with coaches through the German football association, was quoted as saying by “You have to consider that Germany won the World Cup and they have mastered all challenges on the way, which means you get a lot of confidence. Furthermore, people often think what happened in the past will happen in future again. But every game is a new game. So it depends on how you deal with it as a player and as a team," he added. “The World Cup and the 4-1 friendly victory against Italy shows that you are able to be successful, and that’s the most important thing.”  Germany last faced Italy in a competitive game during Euro 2012 but slipped to a 1-2 defeat following two goals from Mario Balotelli. But Mickler insisted focusing on previous results should not be in the minds of the players and expects Low to have numerous plans in order to overcome Italy on Saturday. “It’s important to concentrate on the solutions. You should not think too much about the opponent’s strengths, you have to accept them. But weaknesses always exist as well and these you have to put in the foreground -- in the training, too,” he said. “Having won the World Cup, Germany know they can control the game. It’s crucial you to take an active role, not a reactive, take influence on the game,” the sports psychologist concluded.