Germany Vs. Italy, Euro 2012: Mario Balotelli Sends Italy To Final

Italy made Mario Balotelli's brace hold up as they took down favored Germany, 2-1, to book a spot against Spain in the final.

  • Live
29 Total Updates since June 27, 2012
  • Important 12
  • Updates 23
  • Articles 6
  • All Updates 29

The Ups And Downs Of Mats Hummels

Mats Hummels is Germany's best defender, but until he cuts out his habit of turning off in the middle of games, they'll never really be able to trust him in big matches.

Continue

Mario Balotelli Disarms His Haters, Repays Prandelli's Faith

Why always him? Because he's interesting, both for his antics and his play. On Thursday, Mario Balotelli appeared to acknowledge his critics, while simultaneously dismissing them with a spectacular two-goal performance.

Continue

Germany Relied On An Injured Bastian Schweinsteiger And Paid The Price

Germany's best player spent the entirety of Euro 2012 playing on an ankle injury. Should it be a surprise, then, that they fell at the first serious hurdle?

Continue

Germany Vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals: Final Score, Azzurri Hold On For 2-1 Win

Italy have pulled off an upset to book their ticket to the Euro 2012 Final, where they'll get another shot at group-mates Spain. Mario Balotelli was the star for the azzurri on Thursday, scoring both of their goals in their 2-1 semifinal victory over Germany.

Joachim Löw put out a surprising lineup, and his changes didn't pay off. Both of Marco Reus and Thomas Müller were kept on the bench in favor of Toni Kroos, as Germany pushed Mesut Özil out wide and looked to match Italy in the center of midfield. They looked like the better team in the opening minutes of the match, but the match was turned on its head by Balotelli and Antonio Cassano in the 20th minute.

Cassano provided a fantastic assist on the opener, turning Mats Hummels around on the left flank before delivering a great cross into the center of the box. Balotelli beat Holger Badstuber to the ball and headed past Manuel Neuer at the near post, putting his team up 1-0.

The following 16 minutes were fairly even, but Germany played aggressively in search of an equalizer. Their aggression and lack of defensive organization bit them in the 36th minute, when their back line was undone by a great Balotelli run and an even better pass by Riccardo Montolivo. Hummels and Philipp Lahm were caught out by Balotelli, who timed his run perfectly to stay onside and leave them in the dust as he ran onto Montolivo's long ball. He held them off and hit a thunderbolt past Neuer at his near post, doubling Italy's lead.

Knowing that his team needed a significant shot in the arm, Löw made two halftime substitutions, bringing on Reus and Miroslav Klose for Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez. Reus played very well in the second half and created a shot on target in the 48th minute, leaving many to wonder why he didn't start the match.

Germany created a number of good half-chances in the second half, but the Italian back line and Gianluigi Buffon were always perfectly positioned. Lahm missed a good chance in the 49th minute, which he should have done better with. In the 55th minute, Özil created a great chance with a ball cut back across the box, leading to a scramble, but Italy eventually cleared.

Cesare Prandelli made three very similar subs in the second half, taking off tired or creative players for rested, energetic, industrious players. Alessandro Diamanti, Thiago Motta and Antonio DI Natale all entered the game in the second half, replacing Cassano, Balotelli and Thiago Motta. The substitutes all did their jobs well, making life hard for Germany.

Italy had three excellent chances to put the game away that they didn't take, something that they would eventually come to regret even though they were able to hold on for the victory. Claudio Marchisio missed two great chances just wide, in the 67th minute and in the 75th minute. In the 82nd minute, Di Natale went one-on-one with Neuer on a breakaway, but hit his shot into the side netting.

Things got interesting in the first minute of stoppage time, when Germany were given a lifeline. Federico Balzaretti was whistled for a handball in the penalty area, and Özil converted the resulting spot kick to make it 2-1. Germany spent the next three minutes throwing everyone forward in a desperate attempt to force extra time, but they never created another clear chance as the azzurri held on for a stunning win.

We have live coverage of the match in our Germany vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

Continue

Germany Vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals: Mesut Özil Penalty Makes It 2-1

A lifeline for Germany! A series of crosses into the Italy box aren't adequately cleared and eventually a ricochet strikes first Leonardo Bonucci's and then Federico Balzaretti's hands. The Germany players scream for a penalty; Stéphane Lannoy points to the spot, and Mesut Özil dispatches his shot past Gianluigi Buffon high to his left to make it 2-1.

There are about two minutes left for Germany to score, though, so this looks like far too little, too late. Manuel Neuer keeps coming forward, which resulted in a hilarious diving header on the halfway line, but it really, really looks as though Italy will go through despite that goal. They deserve it, too -- they've been superb.

So much for Germany as favourites to win the competition, eh?

We have live coverage of the match in our Germany vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

Continue

Germany Vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals: Double Substitution For Germany As 2nd Half Begins

Germany need to change things up, and that's exactly what they're doing. Thankfully for the neutral who doesn't like seeing people embarrass themselves on a football pitch, Lukas Podolski is off, replaced by Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus. Mario Gomez has also been pulled for Miroslav Klose, which is good because if you don't love Klose you are a bad human.

Anyway, the second half is underway in Warsaw and Italy are beating up in the favourites 2-0. Germany have most of the ball to start with, but they're going to have to work very hard if they want to come back from this deficit. Italy are playing their best football of the tournament, and nothing their opponents have done has worked just yet. Reus tries to make things happen after turning Leonardo Bonucci inside out, but his attempted shot is slightly mishit and Gianluigi Buffon can collect.

We have live coverage of the match in our Germany vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

Continue

Germany Vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals: Halftime Score 2-0, Thanks To Mario Balotelli

UPDATE: Italy 2-1 Germany, Final Score

Mario Balotelli has stolen the show in the Euro 2012 semifinals, tearing apart Germany en route to a halftime brace. Germany's previously solid defense has looked terrible in the first half against Italy, as the combination of Balotelli, Antonio Cassano and Riccardo Montolivo has taken them apart on two occasions en route to a 2-0 lead.

Germany surprisingly started the match with Toni Kroos in midfield, as they switched to a 4-3-3 to attempt to match Italy in the center. It's helped them control the game for the most part, though they haven't turned their positive play into goals. They generated the game's first big chance in the 6th minute, with Mats Hummels redirecting a Kroos corner on target, but Andrea Pirlo blocked his shot off the line.

Gianluigi Buffon was tested twice in quick succession in the 13th minute. Sami Khedira set up a chance with a great weaving run and pass out wide for Jerome Boateng, who swung a hard cross into the box. Buffon mishandled, but his defense was in good position to clear the ball for a corner. Following the corner, Kroos hit a good long shot on target, but Buffon was able to punch away.

It looked like the Germans were going to find the game's first goal, but things changed quickly in the 20th minute. Cassano provided a brilliant assist for Balotelli for the game's opening goal, turning away from two defenders before playing a cross into the box. Holger Badstuber couldn't stay with Balotelli, who rose up and powered a header into the back of the net.

He struck again 16 minutes later with a spectacular goal, scored off of a long ball. Germany's defense was caught completely off guard by Montolivo's pass over the top, and Balotelli timed his run perfectly to stay onside before running clear of everyone. Philipp Lahm and Mats Hummels didn't look to be on the same page at all, as they failed to hold their line, then didn't pick up Balotelli running by them onto the ball. He held off the defenders who were attempting to recover and hit a powerful shot by Manuel Neuer, doubling Germany's lead.

Besides a couple of terrible lapses in defense, Germany haven't played too poorly so far, but the first half was nothing short of a disaster for them. Joachim Löw will have to consider some halftime changes, both in tactics and personnel.

We have live coverage of the match in our Germany vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

Continue

Germany Vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals: Score Update - Mario Balotelli Strikes Again

UPDATE: Italy 2-1 Germany, Final Score

Right! Riccardo Montolivo blew a chance to put Italy 2-0 up, so the half-German makes amends for his error with a jaw-droppingly beautiful through ball for Mario Balotelli. Seriously, that was great - he picked out Balotelli's run perfectly and twisted the German centre halves inside and out. There was still plenty for the Manchester City man to do, of course, but he was calmness personified as he strode towards Manuel Neuer's goal, waiting for him to come out before dispatching a vicious shot into the top corner.

An absolute beauty, and Italy are in dreamland - you can't imagine that they'd ever have been expecting a 2-0 first half lead. Even Mario Balotelli, who early claimed that he doesn't celebrate goals because scoring is his job, is thrilled. Sort of. I mean, he ripped off his shirt, but didn't smile. My postman doesn't do that when he delivers my mail, Mario.

We have live coverage of the match in our Germany vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

Continue

Germany Vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals: Italy Score; Make It 1-0

UPDATE: Italy 2-1 Germany, Final Score

Goal! Italy are ahead. After that spell of Germany pressure, Italy started pushing back. Riccardo Montolivo got things started ahead easing past Bastian Schweinsteiger and shooting low to Manuel Neuer's right, and although it was a fairly routine stop for the Bayern Munich keeper, it was a sign of attacking intent that Italy hadn't seen up to that point.

They kept up their pressure and it soon told, with Antonio Cassano finding space on the Germany right thanks to a major error from Mats Hummels and then crossing for Mario Balotelli. The Manchester City striker made no mistake, heading home from six yards and leaving Neuer completely helpless.

That's certainly increased Italian confidence, and they came reasonably close to another when Claudio Marchisio found himself in space at the edge of the box. The midfielder, who probably should have shot, dilly-dallied on the ball and lost possession, but it was another scare for Joachim Loew's side. 1-0 Italy is bad enough!

We have live coverage of the match in our Germany vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

Continue

Germany Vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals: Match Underway

We're off and running in Euro 2012's second semifinal and PLEASE SOMEONE SCORE TODAY FOR THE LOVE OF MANKIND. We're at a goal drought of more than four hours at this point, and it'd be nice if one of Germany and Italy felt up to the task of entertaining us today. Whoever wins gets to play Spain in the final, which is a great incentive if you really enjoy running around chasing the ball for hours.

Anyway, after some lovely national antheming, Italy kick off. It doesn't take them long to look to exploit Germany's most obvious weakness, right back Jerome Boateng, and Antonio Cassano instantly gets the better of him. An attempted one-two with Riccardo Montolivo breaks down before much can happen, however - although that's still more action that we had in most of the last semifinal.

We have live coverage of the match in our Germany vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

Continue

Germany Vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals: Lineups

UPDATE: Italy 2-1 Germany, Final Score

Germany are back to their regular lineup for their Euro 2012 semifinal against Italy, more or less. Having fielded Miroslav Klose, Marco Reus and Andre Schurrle against Greece in the quarterfinal, they're back to their stalwarts - with the exception of Thomas Mueller, who has been replaced by Thomas Mueller.

Italy, meanwhile, have sorted out their right back problem thanks to the return to fitness of Giorgio Chiellini, whose presence allows the back line to shuffle over far enough to plug the gap left by the suspended Christian Maggio and the injured Ignazio Abate.

Germany starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm, Holger Badstuber, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng; Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira; Lukas Podolski, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil; Mario Gomez.

Italy starting lineup (4-3-1-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Federico Balzaretti; Daniele de Rossi, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio; Riccardo Montolivo; Antonio Cassano, Mario Balotelli.

We'll have live coverage of the match in our Germany vs. Italy, Euro 2012 Semifinals StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.

Check out the SB Nation Channel on YouTube

Continue
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.