After producing another classy performance at the heart of the Italy midfield to help his side overcome Germany and reach the UEFA EURO 2012 final, Andrea Pirlo described the victory as "a perfect game".
Pirlo has been one of the standout performers of the tournament with his influential displays for Cesare Prandelli's side. He again pulled the strings in midfield and set the tempo for the Azzurri's 2-1 semi-final success against Joachim Löw's outfit – a display which earned him his third Carlsberg Man of the Match award of the tournament.
"Thanks very much for my prize," said the 33-year-old. "The team pulled off a great victory tonight against an exceptional side. We hoped to get this far from the very start, and now that we are here we hope to play a great final – we are here to win."
"There were a few players to choose from," said former EURO winner Peter Schmeichel, who handed Pirlo the award. "[Mario] Balotelli scored two goals and I can't remember seeing [Gianluigi] Buffon play so well, but I think this fellow here, Andrea Pirlo, produced the best performance of the EURO so far. His ability with the ball, his passing, the way he frustrated the Germans today, it was a piece of art and I'd like to congratulate him because he was absolutely fantastic – and congratulations on reaching the final as well."
The Juventus midfielder is no stranger to silverware, having won three Serie A championships, two UEFA Champions League crowns and a FIFA World Cup, and after this third individual award following similar stellar displays against Croatia and England, Pirlo stressed that it was the team rather than the individual that won the day.
"It was a great performance by the whole team," added Italy's No21. "When you win these type of games, that means that everyone has given 100%. Today we did this and it was a perfect game. We were confident we would play a great game tonight against a very strong team. I thought we deserved to get to the final. We are going to enjoy this victory and we are ready to prepare for the final against Spain."
Italy take on the world and European champions, whom they faced in their opening match in Poland, in Sunday's final in Kyiv.
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