clear
Monday August 3rd, 2015 6:41AM

Italy beats Germany 2-1 to reach Euro 2012 final

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
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 2015 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 ( 2 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 ( 2 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 ( 2 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 ( 2 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 ( 2 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 ( 2 years ago )
Professional Sports
Matt Ryan feeling as young as ever in new scheme
Now in his eighth training camp with the Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan says he has never felt better physically before the start of the season.
12:04PM ( 5 hours from now )
Peterson, Teheran lead Braves past Phillies 6-2
Jace Peterson had three hits, including a three-run home run, and Julio Teheran pitched seven strong innings to lead Atlanta to a 6-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
9:59AM ( 3 hours from now )
John Isner wins Atlanta Open for 3rd straight year
John Isner won the Atlanta Open for the third straight year, beating Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday at Atlantic Station.
6:02AM ( 39 minutes ago )
Matt Kenseth wins at Pocono
Matt Kenseth, the unexpected winner of Sunday’s Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway, had to do a double take.
By Reid Spencer-NASCAR Wire Service
8:26PM ( 10 hours ago )
Wisler struggles in Phillies rout of Braves
It was a night to forget for rookie Matt Wisler and the Atlanta Braves.
By The Associated Press
8:06AM ( 22 hours ago )