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The Italian team are furious with an article published on Der Spiegel newspaper’s website and hope to exact revenge by knocking the host nation out of the World Cup on Tuesday.
The article joked that Italians were “lazy and greasy, among other things”.
Skipper Fabio Cannavaro said: “As an Italian and captain, I feel offended.
“These stereotypes applied to us come from an old culture that has been overly abused.
“It shocks me that this can happen in a civilised country like Germany.”
Midfielder Gennaro Gattuso added: “That article offended my father and every other Italian who worked hard for low pay.
“Germany has given Italians work in the past but our countrymen put in the effort and earned their wages.”
The article, which has sicne been withdrawn, has added extra spice ahead of Tuesday’s semi-final meeting between the two countries.
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