GERMANY 1 – 2 ITALY
Ozil 90+1’ Balotelli 20’, 36’
|Shots on target
Italy exceeded all expectations beating the brilliant Germans. Mario Balotelli was the star of the show, netting twice in the first half. This victory will set up for an all Mediterranean clash in the final – but also a repeat of the Euro 2012 Group B opener.
The first chance of the game fell to Borussia Dortmund star, Mats Hummels. A dangerous corner was delivered and the German defender didn’t connect as well as he would have hoped. The left-footed effort still forced Italy to stop the ball on the line for Gianluigi Buffon to collect. Tense start for Italy.
A nervy start defensively for the Italians continued. After 12mins, Jerome Boateng drilled in a low cross and after a couple of deflections it nearly ended up in the back of the net. A short corner was taken, finding Lukas Podolski who struck a ferocious shot from distance. Italy were well and truly on the back foot.
After 20 minutes, Italy stunned Germany. Despite being completely dominated in the early stages, Mario Balotelli put The Azzurri ahead with a clever header after nice work from strike partner, Antonio Cassano.
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The game was now at a more settled tempo, with Germany still on top. They continued to press forward and came close on a number of occasions. Most notable was an exquisite volley from long range by Sami Khedira that Buffon was equal to.
Just under 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Italy rather surprisingly doubled their lead in style. Balotelli timed his run to perfection, with Riccardo Montolivo floating a beautiful lofted through ball. The Man City striker then emphatically finished into the top corner to make it 3 goals for Euro 2012 – joint first for the Golden Boot. Half-time.
Germany came out with two positive substitutions, with Joachim Low surpsingly opting to take off Mario Gomez. The introduction of Marco Reus and Miroslav Klose certainly sparked some life into the side, but they were still struggling to find that vital goal.
They came closest when Reus hammered a dead ball against the crossbar. On second viewing, Buffon managed to magically get a finger to it to tip it onto the bar and out.
Italy, the masters of tactics in defence, were looking as solid as ever. Marchisio and De Rossi persistent as ever, Pirlo pulling the strings and Montolivo offering the offensive outlet. Muller entered the fray, with Germany sacrificing a right-back. This led to Italy looking dangerous on the counter-attack.
Italy created a host of chances, with Montolivo, Di Natale and Balzaretti guilty of not seeing the game out. The game plodded along into injury time when in the 91st minute, Germany were dramatically awarded a penalty. Mesut Ozil calmly stepped up slotting past Buffon.
The late goal turned out to only be a consolation for The Germans as they failed to create any more openings. Italy will now play Spain in Sunday’s final, where they will hope to stop La Roja becoming the first nation to win three consecutive major tournaments.
|20 Boateng (Muller – 71’)
|05 Hummels █
||19 Bonucci █
||16 De Rossi █
||18 Montolivo (Motta – 64’ █)
|10 Podolski (Reus – 45’)
||10 Cassano (Diamanti – 57’)
|23 Gomez (Klose – 45’)
||09 Balotelli █ (Di Natale – 70’)
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