Italy 2 Germany 1 – Super Mario Balotelli fires Azzurri into Euro 2012 final
Spain and Portugal’s semi-final was a fairly dull encounter, although Italy and Germany produced a highly-entertaining semi-final on Thursday night that saw Cesare Prandelli’s team win by a 2-1 scoreline.
June 28th, 2012
Italy thoroughly deserved their victory against a talented but vulnerable German side, with the Azzurri taking the lead in the 20th minute when Antonio Cassano was able to deliver a pinpoint cross and Mario Balotelli beat Holger Badstuber to nod home.
Fifteen minutes later and Balotelli was racing through on goal. The Manchester City striker inched ahead of Philippe Lahm to fire an unstoppable shot past Manuel Neuer to leave Italy with a two-goal cushion going into half-time.
Germany stepped things up in the second half, bringing on Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus, with the latter looking bright although Joachim Low’s team still failed to create clear-cut chances. Perhaps Lahm will rue missing the target early in the second half.
Italy were culpable of not extending their lead further, with Antonio Di Natale and Claudio Marchisio proving wasteful, while Andrea Pirlo continued having an excellent tournament with some exquisite passing.
Germany won a late penalty and Mesut Ozil was able to stroke the ball home, although it was too little too late for one of the pre-tournament favourites.