clear
Monday May 30th, 2016 6:39PM

Italy beats Germany 2-1 to reach Euro 2012 final

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor
WARSAW, Poland -- Mario Balotelli finally showed some quality finishing, scoring twice Thursday to give Italy a 2-1 win over Germany and an unexpected spot in the European Championship final.

Extending its winless streak against Italy in major tournaments to eight matches, Germany had no answer for Balotelli nor Antonio Cassano's creativity.

In the 20th minute, Balotelli had no trouble getting past Holger Badstuber to head in a pinpoint cross from Cassano. Then in the 36th, the 21-year-old striker received the ball behind the defense and blasted a long shot into the top right corner.

While he did score against Ireland, Balotelli was criticized for wasting numerous chances against Spain, Croatia and England.

Germany failed to trouble Italy for much of the match, but Mesut Oezil scored on a penalty kick in injury time after Federico Balzaretti was whistled for a handball.

Italy will face defending champion Spain in Sunday's final in Kiev, Ukraine - a rematch of their 1-1 draw that opened Group C.

While Italy has won four World Cups, it's only European Championship came in 1968. Like when they won the 1982 and 2006 World Cups, the Azzurri have managed to maintain their focus despite a match-fixing and betting scandal at home.

On a pleasant evening at the National Stadium Warsaw, Cassano set up the opening goal by befuddling Germany defenders Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng to lift the ball in Balotelli's direction.

The second goal began with a long vertical pass from Riccardo Montolivo, whose mother is German. Balotelli collected the pass with his back to the goal, controlled the ball with his chest and then sprinted forward and unleashed a blazing shot from the edge of the area as Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer again stood immobile.

Balotelli took off his jersey after his second goal, which drew an automatic yellow card, although he will not miss the final.

Even before scoring, Italy controlled the pace of the match, although Germany did have several chances from Hummels, Toni Kroos and Oezil.

In the 35th, Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon preserved the Azzurri lead by swatting away a long shot from Sami Khedira - and Balotelli doubled the lead a minute later.

To start the second half, Germany coach Joachim Loew brought on Miroslav Klose for Mario Gomez at center forward and replaced Lukas Podolski with Marco Reus on the wing.

With Germany appearing slightly more organized, captain Philipp Lahm had a great look at the goal in the 49th but shot way over the bar.

Buffon made another impressive save in the 62nd, leaping to push a free kick from Reus off the bar.

While Italy largely sat back and protected its lead in the second half, the Azzurri did produce some dangerous counterattacks. Claudio Marchisio shot just wide in the 67th and 75th and substitute Antonio Di Natale missed another chance in the 82nd.

Di Natale came on in the 70th after Balotelli went down with a cramp to his left leg.

White-clad German fans greatly outnumbered Italian supporters, unveiling a huge banner before kickoff that featured a giant "G" for Germany. However, most of the stadium was filled with Polish fans who supported Italy.

They had plenty to cheer about.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 3 years ago )
Top 10 sports stories of the year: 2012 one for the history books
2012 has been all things to all people in the sports world. The last 12 months have run the gamut of emotions and given fans and spectators much to awe, rue and everything in between.
2:33PM ( 3 years ago )
College Football Hall to break ground in Atlanta
Groundbreaking for the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will be Jan. 28 and the museum is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
2:15PM ( 3 years ago )
Sports
Williams, Horford pace Hawks past Indiana
Lou Williams had 21 points and a career-high 12 assists, Al Horford added 20 points and the Atlanta Hawks won their fourth straight, 109-100 over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
10:19PM ( 3 years ago )
Gwinnett wallops Greenville, 6-2
Five different Gladiators racked up multiple points, as Gwinnett dominated the Greenville Road Warriors 6-2 Saturday night at the BI-LO Center to move into a tie atop the South Division with Greenville.
10:05PM ( 3 years ago )
Teague leads Hawks past Cavaliers, 102-94
Jeff Teague scored a career-high 27 points and the Atlanta Hawks scored the game's final nine points to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 102-94 on Friday night.
10:26PM ( 3 years ago )
Professional Sports
Truex seeking bigger things after Charlotte romp
Truex says his dominating win at the Coca-Cola 600 is just the tip of what team can achieve
12:09PM ( 6 hours ago )
IndyCar hoping to carry momentum from 500 into future races
Race organizers and IndyCar officials eager to build on the momentum from the historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500
2:17AM ( 16 hours ago )
Truex’s luck turns with dominating win In Coca-Cola 600
CONCORD, NC - The heartbreak kid survived 600 miles without another broken heart. Instead, Martin Truex, Jr. broke records in Sunday night’s victory in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a race in which the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Toyota set new standards for domination.
By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
12:41AM ( 17 hours ago )
Dietrich hits HR, drives in 4 as Marlins beat Braves
Derek Dietrich hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer and drove in four runs before being hit on the back of his head by a foul ball hit into his dugout, and the Miami Marlins beat Atlanta 7-3 on Sunday to avoid being swept by the last-place Braves for the second time this season.
By The Associated Press
12:22AM ( 18 hours ago )
Bulldogs eliminated, McCoy still alive at NCAAs
The No. 6-ranked Georgia men’s golf team was eliminated from the NCAA Championships on Sunday, but senior and former Habersham Central standout Lee McCoy remained in the hunt for national medalist honors.
By AccessWDUN Staff
9:28PM ( 21 hours ago )