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EURO 2012: Balotelli fires Italy through to final
8:48am Friday 29th June 2012 in News
MARIO Balotelli scored twice to fire Italy to a shock semi final victory over Germany at Euro 2012 last night.
The Manchester City striker headed Italy in front in the 20th minute before smashing home a second 16 minutes later, ending the hopes of a Germany side tipped by many to win their first tournament since Euro 96.
But Germany have never beaten Italy in a tournament match and their eighth attempt ended in a repeat of the outcome in the 2006 World Cup semi final.
Balotelli headed home a cross from Antonio Cassano to put the Italians ahead in Warsaw and Gianlugi Buffon then produced a fine save to keep out Sami Khedira’s long-range volley.
Moments later it was 2-0 as Balotelli broke the German offside trap and lashed a venomous shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Germany made a double substitution at half time and Mesut Ozil pulled a goal back from the penalty spot in stoppage time after a handball by Federico Balzaretti. But it was not enough to prevent Italy booking a place in Sunday’s final against Spain in Kiev.
Germany: Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng (Thomas Muller 71), Thomas Badstuber, Mats Hummels, Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos, Mario Gomez (Miroslav Klose 46), Lukas Podolski (Marco Reus 46).
Italy: Gianlugi Buffon, Federico Balzaretti, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Riccardo Montolivo (Thiago Motta 63), Daniele De Rossi, Mario Balotelli (Antonio Di Natale 69), Antonio Cassano (Alessandro Diamanti 58).