Mario Balotelli was left reflecting on "one of the best nights of my life" after taking his UEFA EURO 2012 tally to three with both Italy's goals in their 2-1 victory over Germany. Yet with the final whistle almost still audible, he and centre-backs Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli were already setting their sights on Spain in Sunday's final.
Mario Balotelli, Italy forward
A great performance but we suffered a little bit in the end. It could have been prevented, but that's how it goes. The most important thing is the result and that we won. The first goal was from great cross from Antonio [Cassano], while the second came from a fantastic pass by [Riccardo] Montolivo and, well, I shot and scored!
There's always been aggressiveness, always the desire to score; maybe I was just missing a bit of luck.
We don't have to fear [Spain] and their ball possession. We have already scored against them, we are as strong as them if not more so. This is one of the best nights of my life but I hope it will be even better against Spain. Spain have another way of playing compared to Germany, but we know our strengths and we are able to play against anyone.
Giorgio Chiellini, Italy defender
It was a great match against a great team. We were really convinced we could play well and win. We've studied Germany's great qualities, but we were convinced we could make it hard for them and we were very good in front of goal, and battling together until the 95th minute. In the end, the margin in terms of the final result was pretty small.
Obviously, I was not in top physical condition. I was a little tired, but I put in my share and I was able to be useful for my team as a physical presence on the pitch. Now we need to improve, because on Sunday we need to be even better. Every team has its strengths and weaknesses. We've already faced Spain and we played well.
We know they are the favourites to win this tournament, but looking at [how well] we did today, we feel we can beat them.
Andrea Barzagli, Italy defender
We've played an extraordinary game against a very strong side and we deserved to win. We led 2-0 and had opportunities to score a third. Then, well, we suffered a bit during the last two to three minutes, because they're strong; but we should get the credit we deserve. We could have avoided a nervy conclusion to the game but in the end the most important thing is that we won.
Our defence is always well organised. It doesn't matter if someone is absent, because there is [always] someone else who can play; someone who knows what to do, who knows how to put in a great effort. We're a squad full of important players, every one of us. Balotelli did well, but this a team victory; because after all [a team effort] brings out the [quality of an] individual player and he proved to be a strong player. Well, not only him, but the whole team.
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