Sportco Euro Classics Series: Italy 2-1 Germany Euro 2012 Semi-final
We are just a month and a few days away from the Euro 2020 begin. Let's reminisce about another great match of the Euros 2012. Here we present another edition of our Euro Classics Series.
Germany vs Italy in the semi-finals of Euros 2012 was held at the National Stadium in Warsaw. Approximately 55,000 people were in attendance and it was a game that was anticipating a neck-to-neck affair as both sides had the quality to make it to the final.
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.
There were some controversial figures in the starting XI too as several eyebrows were raised when Cesare Prandelli put Mario Balotelli to start in a game that was very indispensable for the Italians.
The former Man City forward was paired alongside Antonio Cassano for Italy upfront, while an experienced Antonio Di Natale was benched. A very fierce game was plausible but the final product was missing from both sides.
Minute 20' (Goal! Balotelli Strikes for Italy)
At the 20th minute, the doubters turned into believers as Mario Balotelli headed the ball from a startling cross from Cassano down the left channel.
Despite the lead, Italy observed Germany trying hard to get on level terms by penetrating inside the Italian penalty box which almost led to Andrea Barzagli putting the ball past his own goal.
Gianluigi Buffon was at his usual best to thwart a well-struck volley from Sami Khedira.
Minute 36' (Goal!! Super Mario strikes again)
Just 16 minutes after going 1-0 up, Italy found the net again, and Mario Balotelli was the man of the moment again. A sublime lobbed through pass from Riccardo Montolivo over the Germany defense fell into Balotelli's way and he lashed a vicious strike past Manuel Neuer who couldn't do anything about it.
As expected, the shirt went one way, while Balotelli went the other and Prandelli abruptly was given all the credit for such an audacious call.
The second half witnessed more urgency from Germany as Joachim Low played his final tricks by sending Marco Reus and Miroslav Klose to rewrite Germany's fortunes.
Reus' introduction in the second half did aid Germany but they failed to convert their chances. It was the first time in the tournament that Germany fell behind, but they couldn't do much against a prominent Italy midfield.
Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Daniele De Rossi contrived the Germans very well and left no way for their opponents to strike. Germany did strike the free-kick sweetly but Buffon was there to recoup.
Germany's growing intent left them exposed for counters and Pirlo was there to punish them. However, Balotelli's replacement Di Natale did not take his chance and Germany escaped remorse.
Minute 90+2' (Goal! Germany pull one back)
In the dying minutes of the game, Federico Balzeratti was discerned with a handball and Mesut Ozil stepped up to take the spot-kick for Germany and slotted the ball past Gigi Buffon, inflicting moments of skepticism among the Italians.
But Italy were adamant to give the ball away after kickoff, leading to a place in the finals. Germany entered the tournaments as favorites but there's no concealment about the fact that they languished their eighth attempt to vanquish the Italians.
Final Whistle: Germany 1-2 Italy
Germany's last conquest against Italy came almost half a century ago in the 1962 World Cup, and it will be intriguing to see whether Low and Germany manage to beat Italy if they play each other this time.
What are your thoughts? Who are your favorites for this Euro competition? Let us know and stay tuned for more.