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  • Date:28 Jun 2012
  • Kick-off:19:45
  • Venue:National Stadium - Warsaw
  • Mario Balotelli (20)
    Mario Balotelli (36)
Goal!

Live Commentary

94mins

Incredible game. Balotelli, the match-winner, simply sits in the dugout on the final whistle and beats his chest with no expression on his face.

94mins

Full-time: Germany 1-2 Italy

92mins

Hummels flicks Reus through on goal but the defender was adjudged to have committed a foul and is then booked for dissent.

92mins

Goal! Germany 1-2 Italy (Mesut Ozil pen)

91mins

Handball by Balzaretti.

91mins

Penalty to Germany!

91mins

Ozil converts with a fine spot kick. Germany have two minutes to get an equaliser.

90mins

We're into the first of four added minutes.

89mins

Great chance for Germany as the ball falls to Hummels six yards out, but Bonucci dives in to make a tremendous block. Ozil then hooks a shot wide form the resulting corner. The game looks up for Germany now.

88mins

Motta picks up a yellow card for catching Schweinsteiger.

87mins

Germany find space to break into down the right with Muller, but he crosses straight into the arms of Buffon with men over in the box. Wasted chance.

84mins

Chance for Germany as Muller feeds Reus, but Balzaretti charges across to challenge him just as he was about to shoot. Straight after, Kroos fired over from 25 yards.

83mins

Germany are currently playing in a 2-2-6 formation but are looking desperate now and are just pumping balls into the box, which the Italian defenders are picking off with ease.

81mins

Another fantastic chance for Italy as they break with Diamanti, who slides Di Natale through on goal, but he inexplicably shoots into the side netting. Balzaretti then had the ball in the net for Italy as they attacked the threadbare German defence once again, but he was ruled offside.

79mins

Germany get back on the attack but encounter only more frustration as Klose fires over from 15 yards.

77mins

Italy break once again down the right channel and this time Di Natale slips just as he is about to pull the trigger. Then Pirlo slices the German defence open to slip Diamanti in down the left, but his cross is cut out by Neuer. Sublime pass from Pirlo.

75mins

Italy, and Marchisio in particular, will be kicking themselves if they Germany get back into this game because he has missed two glaring chances.

74mins

Fantastic chance for Italy, but Marchisio shoots wide from an angle ten yards out after a slip from Holger Badstuber had given him a clear sight of goal. Another huge let-off for the Germans.

73mins

But Germany go back on their mass offensive and Lahm crosses to the near post from the left, only for Barzagli to clear the danger.

72mins

The game was disrupted by those substitutions and it's broken Germany's rhythm. Italy are now the team doing the pressing.

71mins

And now Germany make their last substitution, replacing Boateng with Muller.

70mins

Italy make their final change, with Balotelli going off for Antonio Di Natale.

67mins

Balotelli is down with cramp now for Italy, which is met with boos from the German sections of the crowd.

66mins

Great chance for Italy as Marchisio is slipped through by Diamanti, but slices his right-footed shot wide. Massive let-off for Germany.

64mins

Germany get the ball back but then Pirlo intercepts a pass and feeds Diamanti, who tries to lob Neuer from 45 yards but is off target with his effort.

64mins

Italy are now having a sustained spell of possession in the German half, which is the first time they have done so this period.

62mins

Another change for Italy as Thiago Motta is sent on for Montolivo.

61mins

Close call for Germany as Buffon brilliantly tips Reus' whipped free-kick from 25 yards on to the bar and over. Bonucci was booked for giving the foul away.

59mins

Italy at last break out and Balotelli sends a right-footed shot whistling narrowly past Neuer's right-hand post. But Germany are now back on the ball and Italy are back on the defensive.

58mins

Half-chance for Germany as Boateng crosses for Klose to glance a header well wide. Every player except the two German centre-backs are spending almost all the game in the Italian half now. Germany have gone gung-ho, Italy ultra-defensive.

58mins

Substitution for Italy, who replace Cassano with Alessandro Diamanti.

55mins

Now Bonucci saves Italy with a superb sliding tackle just as Klose was about to pull the trigger ten yards out. Pressure building.

53mins

Great chance for Germany as Ozil brilliantly gets to the byline and cuts back for Khedira, but Barzagli gets a vital foot in to prevent the Real Madrid man shooting from four yards out.

51mins

But then Italy break and Cassano crosses towards Balotelli, but the German defence clears before the ball can get to him.

50mins

Italy can't get out of their own third here. They're being pinned in as the Germans send waves of men forward.

48mins

Great chance for Germany as Lahm plays a one-two with Kroos on the edge of the box but side-foots his shot from 18 yards over the bar. That's a major warning for Italy, who have hardly touched the ball in this half so far.

48mins

Reus has already made a big impact. He's full of energy and running and Italy are struggling to keep tabs on him.

47mins

As you would expect, Germany have started with urgency and positivity. Reus has just broken into the box and created space to shoot left-footed, but his effort was straight at Buffon.

46mins

Germany get us back under way, presumably having been on the end of a heated team-talk from Low at half-time.

46mins

A truly stunning half. Germany had looked the more dangerous and positive team but they defended very poorly and the Italians, and Balotelli in particular, exploited that to devastating effect.

46mins

Half-time: Germany 0-2 Italy

45mins

Germany get a corner and a chance to maybe pull a goal back before half-time, but Schweinsteiger's disappointing cross failed to beat the first man.

44mins

The Germans not surprisingly look a bit stunned here. They're only just starting to string passes together again after Balotelli's second.

42mins

Replays of the goal show the German back four was all over the place. There was no semblance of a rigid back line, which allowed Balotelli to be in acres of space yet remain onside.

40mins

Italy are having endless amounts of joy down the left. Neither Kroos nor Ozil are truly occupying the German right wing so Boateng is charging forward to compensate, but that in turn is leaving the right back spot wide open, and the Italians are exploiting it. Both goals were created on that side.

37mins

Moments before the goal, Khedira had let fly from 25 yards but was denied by a diving save from Buffon. After the goal, Balotelli was booked for taking his shirt off.

36mins

Stunning goal! A pinpoint long ball from Montolivo deep in his own half split the German defence, Balotelli beat the offside trap, collected the ball and then rocketed a magnificent right-footed shot past a helpless Neuer and into the top corner. Sensational strike.

36mins

Goal! Germany 0-2 Italy (Mario Balotelli)

34mins

Great chance for Italy now as Cassano slips in Montolivo down the left channel. All he had to do was shoot first time with his left foot, but he instead opted to cut inside and was promptly tackled.

33mins

Chance for Germany as Boateng arrows a cross towards Podolski at the back post, but Balzaretti managed to get to it first and clear.

31mins

Italy are all of a sudden struggling to keep hold of the ball. Their playmaker Pirlo is being tightly marked by Kroos and Germany are also pressing high up the pitch, which is forcing the Italians to play the ball long towards Balotelli, with Cassano running off.

28mins

Now Ozil runs at the defence and lays the ball off to Kroos, who tries to slip in Gomez but there wasn't quite enough room and the ball trickles harmlessly into Buffon's grateful hands. Straight after, Kroos sliced a right-footed shot from 22 yards well wide.

27mins

Germany have retaken the initiative now and so we're back into the pattern that was developing before Italy had the good spell that led to their goal.

26mins

Another chance for Germany as Boateng plays the ball long for Gomez, who controls and then lays it off for Ozil to send a side-footed shot towards the bottom corner, but Buffon was there to make a comfortable save.

23mins

Germany respond with an attack down the right which culminates with Boateng crossing for Gomez, but the Bayern Munich striker's header was well wide.

21mins

There were signs that a goal could be coming for Italy there because they had started to move more men forward into attacking positions when in possession and so not only were more options presenting themselves, but they were matching the German defence man for man. Prandelli's tactics pay off.

20mins

Well-created goal from the Italians as Cassano wriggles free on the left and crosses for Balotelli to head past Neuer from five yards. Germany's defence for once looked sluggish there.

20mins

Goal! Germany 0-1 Italy (Mario Balotelli)

17mins

And now Cassano lets fly from 25 yards with a curling right-footed shot, but Neuer once again saw it early and got two good hands behind it.

16mins

Chance for Italy as Montolivo collects the ball from Antonio Cassano on the edge of the box, side-steps his marker and sends a shot goalwards, but Neuer anticipated it well and got down to make the save.

13mins

Signs that Germany are getting on top now. They're just more urgent and mobile in possession, with runners appearing from all angles. Italy's strikers, meanwhile, are becoming isolated and so are having to drop deep to join the play.

12mins

Great chance for Germany and it's another Buffon spill as he fumbles a routine cross from the right from Jerome Boateng to the feet of Sami Khedira, but Andrea Barzagli was there to intervene and clear. Straight after, Toni Kroos drew a save from Buffon with a stinging shot from outside the box.

10mins

Both teams look very comfortable in possession and are able to wriggle out of tight corners with apparent ease.

8mins

Pirlo picks the ball up 30 yards out and despite having Balzaretti free down the right, he opts to go for goal but sees his effort blocked almost as soon as it left his boot.

6mins

Germany are already looking very purposeful in possession, going on the attack instantly and at speed, whereas Italy are slower on the ball and seem content to knock it around.

4mins

Great chance for Germany as Buffon failed to claim a corner, dropping the ball at the feet of Mats Hummels, who kneed a shot goalwards but saw his effort cleared off the line by Andrea Pirlo on the post.

3mins

Riccardo Montolivo slips a ball in behind the German defence for Mario Balotelli to run on to, but Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer spots the danger and rushes out to collect ahead of the Manchester City striker.

2mins

Federico Balzaretti misplaces a pass and hands Germany a throw close to the byline, but a cross into the box is over the head of Mario Gomez and goes out of play.

1mins

Italy get the game under way and look to hold the ball early with some short passes around the back four and midfield. Four out of Italy's back five are from Juventus.

That's the anthems out of the way, so we're just moments away from kick-off now. It's another Uefa "Respect" game, so both captains have been reading out messages to the crowd urging unity in football.

Both teams are going to be in their traditional colours, with Germany in white and Italy in blue. The anthems are now being sung.

The teams are in the tunnel, with Germany being led out by Philipp Lahm and Italy by Gianluigi Buffon.

Germany have an excellent record in the last four of the European Championships, having won all but one of their six semi-final matches in the Euros. Equally, though, Italy have won eight of the ten semi-finals they have contested at major competitions.

Although Italy are somewhat of a tournament bogey team for Germany, Low's side have won their last 15 competitive matches, including all of the Euro 2012 qualfying and finals games so far. They are the only team left in the tournament with a 100 per cent record. However, Italy are also unbeaten in competitive matches under Cesare Prandelli.

Despite history being against his team, Germany coach Joachim Low believes past results matter little. He said: “For today’s ­generation, those past defeats have no relevance. I am not worried at all. Both teams have changed hugely, even from 2006. Now we can beat anyone. We will play our game, bring in our strengths. We will try to dictate our rhythm and won’t let Italy show us how we have to play."

Germany have a woeful competitive record against the Italians, having failed to beat them in seven attempts. They lost in three of those games, including two tournament semi-finals, the latest being at the 2006 World Cup, which Italy went on to win. The most famous defeat, however, was the 1982 World Cup final of Paolo Rossi, Marco Tardelli and Alessandro Altobelli.

And this is the Italy team: (4-3-1-2) Buffon; Balzaretti, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Pirlo, Marchisio, De Rossi; Montolivo; Balotelli, Cassano. Subs: Sirigu, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Abate, Di Natale, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

Here's how Germany will line up: (4-2-3-1) Neuer; Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Khedira; Kroos, Ozil, Podolski; Gomez. Subs: Wiese, Gundogan, Schmelzer, Howedes, Schurrle, Klose, Mueller, Bender, Mertesacker, Gotze, Reus, Zieler.

Germany have made three changes to the team that knocked out Greece, replacing Miroslav Klose, Andre Schurrle and Marco Reus with Lukas Podolski, Mario Gomez and Toni Kroos. The Italians, meanwhile, make one change, with Giorgio Chiellini returning from injury in place of Ignazio Abate.

Welcome along to our coverage of tonight's second semi-final, between Germany and Italy in Warsaw. The Germans booked their place in the last four by beating Greece 4-2 and have had two days more rest than the Italians, who progressed at the expense of England on penalties.

Reus replaces Podolski, while Miroslav Klose is also coming on in place of Gomez.

The teams are on their way back out and it looks like Germany are making a change, with Marco Reus set to come on.

Germany now have the unenviable task of going all-out attack while at the same time tightening up the defence. They need a dedicated attacking player on the right, such as Thomas Muller, to balance the forward line out and allow right-back Boateng to concentrate on defending.

As for the Germans, they once again fall to Italy. They paid the price for a lack of balance on the right and poor defending in the first half, and then lacked incision and ideas to get themselves back in it after the break. If anything, they looked a bit too desperate and ended up just punting balls into the box.

Italy are deserving winners. They took their chances brilliantly in the first half and then defended magnificently in the second - and they could have scored at least twice more on the counter-attack as the Germans pushed forward.

**Provisional teams until kick-off

Germany

  • Joachim Loew Coach
  • Manuel Neuer Goal
  • Jerome Boateng Defender
  • Mats Hummels Defender
  • Holger Badstuber Defender
  • Philipp Lahm Defender
  • Toni Kroos Midfielder
  • Bastian Schweinsteiger Midfielder
  • Mesut Ozil Midfielder
  • Sami Khedira Midfielder
  • Lukas Podolski Midfielder
  • Mario Gomez Forward
  • Tim Wiese Substitute
  • Ron-Robert Zieler Substitute
  • Ilkay Gundogan Substitute
  • Marcel Schmelzer Substitute
  • Benedikt Howedes Substitute
  • Andre Schuerrle Substitute
  • Lars Bender Substitute
  • Per Mertesacker Substitute
  • Mario Goetze Substitute
  • Marco Reuss
  • Miroslav Klose
  • Thomas Mueller

Italy

  • Cesare Prandelli Coach
  • Gianluigi Buffon Goal
  • Federico Balzaretti Defender
  • Andrea Barzagli Defender
  • Leonardo Bonucci Defender
  • Giorgio Chiellini Defender
  • Claudio Marchisio Midfielder
  • Andrea Pirlo Midfielder
  • Riccardo Montolivo Midfielder
  • Daniele De Rossi Midfielder
  • Mario Balotelli Forward
  • Antonio Cassano Forward
  • Salvatore Sirigu Substitute
  • Morgan De Sanctis Substitute
  • Angelo Ogbonna Substitute
  • Ignazio Abate Substitute
  • Emanuele Giaccherini Substitute
  • Fabio Borini Substitute
  • Sebastian Giovinco Substitute
  • Antonio Nocerino Substitute
  • Alessandro Diamanti Substitute who played
  • Thiago Motta Substitute who played
  • Antonio Di Natale Substitute who played

Match Report

Balotelli double downs Germany as Italy march on
Striker Mario Balotelli struck twice to seal Italy's 2-1 semi-final win over Germany on Thursday to leave the Germans' Euro 2012 ambitions in tatters while the Azzurri march on to the final.
The 21-year-old Manchester City star broke German hearts with a first-half header and sublime strike as Joachim Loew's inexperienced team -- the youngest of the 16 at Euro 2012 -- failed to cope with Cesare Prandelli's street-wise Italians.
A late penalty from Mesut Ozil proved no more than a consolation score for the Germans whose 16-year wait for a major title continues.
Italy are now into Sunday's final in Kiev to face defending champions Spain with the Italians bidding to win their first European crown since 1968.
Victory at Warsaw's National Stadium means Italy maintain their impressive record of having never lost to Germany at a World Cup or European Championships on their eighth meeting at a major tournament.
Having dropped three of his forwards for last Friday's 4-2 quarter-final win over Greece, Loew again tinkered with his starting line-up, but this time it back-fired as the Germans lacked an effective Plan B when things went wrong.
Arsenal-bound Lukas Podolski was hauled off at half-time, striker Mario Gomez also made way for 34-year-old veteran Miroslav Klose after the break, while Toni Kroos barely troubled the Italian defence from the right wing.
Germany had a couple of golden chances early on, but the Azzurri soon asserted themselves and after Riccardo Montolivo tested Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Italy took the lead on 20 minutes.
Antonio Cassano ghosted through two German defenders and crossed for Balotelli to beat his marker Holger Badstuber and slam his header past Neuer.
It was the first time since the Euro 2008 final Germany had fallen behind in a European Championship match after their ten wins in qualifying and their four wins so far at Euro 2012.
The perplexed looks in the German ranks told their own tale.
Rattled, the Germans tried to reassert themselves with Mesut Ozil and Gomez both squandering half chances, but Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon stood up to the challenge in goal before the Azzurri struck again.
A sublime pass from Fiorentina's Montolivo split the German defence and gave Balotelli all the space he needed to curl his shot past Neuer on 36 minutes.
With the Germans now reeling, Reus was quickly into the action after replacing Podolski and tested Buffon with a well-struck free-kick with an hour gone.
But the Italians were not to be denied their first European final since their Euro 2000 defeat to France when Claudio Marchisio fired wide on 67 minutes and again eight minutes later.
Balotelli made way for Antonio Di Natale on 70 minutes and with time running out, the Udinese forward missed a golden chance with the German defence all at sea.
A handball by Federico Balzaretti in the 92nd minute gave Germany brief hope as referee Stephane Lannoy pointed to the spot and Ozil blasted home the spot-kick, but it was too little, too late.
The Azzurri can now dream of denying world and European champions Spain a third consecutive major title on Sunday.
ryj/cw

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