Germany will beat Italy: Ballack

Munich: Former Germany captain Michael Ballack has predicted that Italy's run at the 2016 European Championship will come to an end at the hands of the reigning World Champions in the high-octane quarter-final clash on Saturday. The former Germany international was impressed by Italy's performance against Spain in the second round of European football's showpiece event, where goals from Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle eliminated the two-time defending champions. Ballack said that he could not see Antonio Conte's side putting in a second straight performance of that magnitude when they come up against 2014 FIFA World Cup winners Germany in Bordeaux. "I doubt the Italians will be able to pull off such a strenuous effort again," Ballack was quoted as saying by on Thursday. "I believe in a German win." Germany outclassed Slovakia 3-0 to storm into the quarters. Germany and Italy have met eight times in the European Championship, but Germany have never tasted victory, with a Mario Balotelli double sealing a 2-1 win for Italy in their most recent encounter at the Euro 2012 semi-finals.