| KRAKOW, Poland, June 27
KRAKOW, Poland, June 27 Italy midfielder
Riccardo Montolivo has the German flag stitched into his boots
but his mother's Hamburg heritage will be put to one side when
the teams clash in the Euro 2012 semi-final on Thursday.
Montolivo, born in Italy and with an Italian father, sees
himself as part-German given his mother hails from there. He
speaks German fluently - even translating his own answers during
a news conference.
"It's for sure a special match," Montolivo said. "Part of me
is German. I spent every summer in Germany until I was 15 with
my grandparents near Hamburg and I'm still in touch with many
friends there. But I feel Italian."
The 27-year-old, who will join AC Milan from Fiorentina in
July, is likely to start the Warsaw encounter as Italy's most
advanced midfielder having shone in the quarter-final with
England before missing a penalty in the shootout.
Undeterred, he will show off his never-say-die German
character if Thursday's game also goes the distance.
"If it happens again, I'll put my hand up to take one," the
"Penalties are not missed by those who don't take them.
"When you miss the world crashes down onto your shoulders
but when I returned to the halfway line I was calm and
confident. I was convinced my miss would not be decisive."
(Editing by Ken Ferris)