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Balotelli sends Italy past Germany

Published: Thursday 28 June 2012, 22.50CET
Germany 1-2 Italy
Mario Balotelli struck twice as Italy once again proved Germany's nemesis, Cesare Prandelli's side holding on in Warsaw to set up a final against Spain.
by Sam Adams
from National Stadium Warsaw

Match statistics

GermanyItaly

Goals scored1
 
2
Possession (%)54
 
46
Total attempts15
 
10
Attempts on target8
 
5
Attempts off target7
 
5
Attempts blocked1
 
0
Attempts against woodwork0
 
0
Corners14
 
0
Offsides0
2
Yellow cards1
 
4
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed13
 
19
Fouls suffered18
 
12

Standings

 
Published: Thursday 28 June 2012, 22.50CET

Balotelli sends Italy past Germany

Germany 1-2 Italy
Mario Balotelli struck twice as Italy once again proved Germany's nemesis, Cesare Prandelli's side holding on in Warsaw to set up a final against Spain.

Italy once again proved to be Germany's nemesis after Mario Balotelli struck two first-half goals to set up a UEFA EURO 2012 final against Spain on Sunday.

Joachim Löw's side came into the semi-final full of confidence having swept all before them in Poland and Ukraine, but perhaps lingering at the back of their minds was the fact that Germany had never beaten the Azzurri in seven competitive meetings. That tally is now eight after Italy produced a wonderfully measured performance with Balotelli at its heart.

Cesare Prandelli's side neutralised Germany's dynamic approach, and found their No9 in clinical form. The striker headed his side in front midway through the opening period and doubled the advantage nine minutes before half-time. Germany threw everything at their opponents after the restart, but their breakthrough came too late, Mesut Özil converting an added-time penalty that only offered fleeting hope.

Prandelli has described his side as a work in progress but, after surviving a nervous opening, they were soon looking like the finished article. In the early stages, only Andrea Pirlo's torso stopped Mats Hummels giving Germany the lead, and then Andrea Barzagli watched helplessly as Gianluigi Buffon's parry ricocheted off him and just past the post. Italy soon found their stride, though.

The busy Riccardo Montolivo forced Manuel Neuer to stretch, before Antonio Cassano had the goalkeeper going the other way. Özil and Toni Kroos, on his first start of the tournament, tested Buffon again, but the Azzurri were looking the more dangerous side. In the 20th minute, they made it count. Pirlo, ever the instigator, swung the ball out to left-back Giorgio Chiellini who fed Cassano. The No10 tricked Hummels and delivered an inviting cross. With the door was wide open Balotelli merely needed to put his head on it as it flashed past Neuer. It was Italy's first UEFA European Championship semi-final goal on their fourth appearance.

Germany reacted as expected for a team who had won a world-record 15 straight competitive games. Özil made Buffon work, and Federico Balzaretti just cleared Jérôme Boateng's dangerous centre. Prandelli has urged his team to resist sitting on a lead on all tournament, and the second duly came – although it was a classic Azzurri counterattack.

Buffon had just made a flying save from Sami Khedira, and batted away the resulting corner which Montolivo picked up. The new AC Milan recruit looked for Balotelli straight away, his ball over the top evading Philipp Lahm, and the striker sped away to rifle a shot into the top corner for a finish every bit as emphatic as his first.

Löw had proved in his starting XI he was not scared to tinker with his personnel, and made changes at half-time, Marco Reus and Miroslav Klose coming on. Reus's first involvement was a effort on goal and then Lahm could only lift his shot over when well placed. Özil got to the byline, but Khedira got in a tangle.

Buffon's fingertips just did enough to send a Reus free-kick on to the bar and away to safety, yet Balotelli was still a menace at the other end and Claudio Marchisio nearly made it three on two occasions. As German belief ebbed away, Antonio Di Natale had a clean run on goal only to fire wide.

Balzaretti handled in his own area with time running out and Özil finally beat Buffon, but it merely offered forlorn hope. Löw's side may have been the tournament's great entertainers, but it is Italy who are in Sunday's final after once again being Germany's bogey team.

Last updated: 25/09/14 4.40CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/season=2012/matches/round=15174/match=2003379/postmatch/report/index.html#balotelli+sends+italy+into+final

Lineups

Germany

Germany

Italy

Italy

1
NeuerManuel Neuer (GK)
1
BuffonGianluigi Buffon (GK) (C)
5
HummelsMats Hummels
Yellow Card90+4
3
ChielliniGiorgio Chiellini
6
KhediraSami Khedira
6
BalzarettiFederico Balzaretti
7
SchweinsteigerBastian Schweinsteiger
8
MarchisioClaudio Marchisio
8
ÖzilMesut Özil
Goal90+2
9
BalotelliMario Balotelli
Goal20
Goal36
Yellow Card37
Substitution70
10
PodolskiLukas Podolski
Substitution46
10
CassanoAntonio Cassano
Substitution58
14
BadstuberHolger Badstuber
15
BarzagliAndrea Barzagli
16
LahmPhilipp Lahm (C)
16
De RossiDaniele De Rossi
Yellow Card84
18
KroosToni Kroos
18
MontolivoRiccardo Montolivo
Substitution64
20
BoatengJérôme Boateng
Substitution71
19
BonucciLeonardo Bonucci
Yellow Card61
23
GomezMario Gomez
Substitution46
21
PirloAndrea Pirlo

Substitutes

12
WieseTim Wiese (GK)
12
SiriguSalvatore Sirigu (GK)
22
ZielerRon-Robert Zieler (GK)
14
De SanctisMorgan De Sanctis (GK)
2
Gündoğanİlkay Gündoğan
4
OgbonnaAngelo Ogbonna
3
SchmelzerMarcel Schmelzer
5
Thiago MottaThiago Motta
Substitution64
Yellow Card89
4
HöwedesBenedikt Höwedes
7
AbateIgnazio Abate
9
SchürrleAndré Schürrle
11
Di NataleAntonio Di Natale
Substitution70
11
KloseMiroslav Klose
Substitution46
13
GiaccheriniEmanuele Giaccherini
13
T. MüllerThomas Müller
Substitution71
17
BoriniFabio Borini
15
BenderLars Bender
20
GiovincoSebastian Giovinco
17
MertesackerPer Mertesacker
22
DiamantiAlessandro Diamanti
Substitution58
19
GötzeMario Götze
23
NocerinoAntonio Nocerino
21
ReusMarco Reus
Substitution46

Coach

Joachim Löw (GER) Cesare Prandelli (ITA)

Referee

Stéphane Lannoy (FRA)

Assistant referees

Frédéric Cano (FRA), Michael Annonier (FRA)

Fourth official

Howard Webb (ENG)

Additional assistant referees

Fredy Fautrel (FRA), Ruddy Buquet (FRA)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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