Zeenews Sports Bureau/Vineet Ramakrishnan
Warsaw: REF BLOWS THE WHISTLE AND IT IS ITALY ON THEIR WAY TO KYIV TO MEET DEFENDING CHAMPIONS SPAIN FOR EUROPEAN GLORY. SUPER MARIO DOES IT FOR ITALY WITH TWO FIRST HALF GOALS AS OZIL PULLED ONE BACK FOR THE GERMANS IN INJURY TIME. 2-1 TO THE AZZURRI
90 + 4 YELLOW CARD for Hummel, as Germans go all out.
90 + 2 PENALTY Balzaretti’s handball, Ozil takes it, drives it in to top left. Germans pull back one, Drama on.
90 4 minutes of added time. Hummels (Germany) has an effort on goal. Buffo nsaves, only just, as Bonucci's deflection takes the sting out of Hummel's drive.
89 YELLOW CARD Thiago Motta (Italy) .
87 Thomas Muller finds room to cross, but he can't find a white shirt, and a grateful Buffon makes another smothering stop.
88 Skill s by Pirlo as the Italians keep the attack going.
86 Schweinsteiger (Germany) takes the corner.min Corner awarded to Germany.Kroos (Germany) misses the target.
84 min Yellow Card Daniele De Rossi.
83 min: Balzaretti rules OFFSIDE as he slots the ball in.
82 min: Di Natale RUINS the best chance for the day, one on one with the keeper, he puts the ball just outside as he slips, clips the outside of the net.
80 min: Schweinsteiger’s long ball is deflected, Rues with a long range effort, well over the bar.
78 min: Chance for Diamanti, but he misses.
77 min: Corner awarded to Germany.Özil (Germany) delivers the corner. Hummels (Germany) misses the gaol with a fierce header.
76 min: Marchisio misses, he had plenty of spec, plenty of time yet shoots wide. Should have been a third.
73 min: Silly by Nueur who concedes a throw, where it sould have been an easy clearence.
72 min: Kroos (Germany) concedes a free-kick for a foul on Thiago Motta (Italy).
71 min: T. Müller (in) - Boateng (out) (Germany). final substitution for Germany.
70 min: SUBSTITUTION Di Natale (in) - Balotelli (out) (Italy).
68 min: Mario Balotelli is lying on his back, looking exhausted. In fact the stretcher is being brought on... but he walks off.
66 min: MARCHISIO! JUST WIDE! So nearly 3-0 Italy. Diamanti caps off a wonderful midfield move by playing the Juventus no.8 in on goal. He is under pressure, but still fires a thunderbolt towards the top corner. It is an inch wide of the post. Would have been curtains if that had gone in.
64 min: SUBSTITUTION Thiago Motta (in) - Montolivo (out) (Italy).
62 min: Kroos (Germany) takes the corner. Scramble in the middle, but eventually cleared away by Pirlo.
61 min: Free kick for Germany, as Bonucci fouls Kroos, favourable position, Rues to take it, on target, so much swirl land depth, but Buffon comes up with a good save as he flies across to his right to punch the ball away. Corner for Germany.
60 min: Balotelli goes for goal, tough angle as he tried one from acute right angle, hit shot swirls well wide off goal and Nueur.
58 min: SUBSTITUTION Diamanti (in) - Cassano (out) (Italy).
56 min: FANTASTIC CHALLENGE by Bonucci on Klose when the veteran German striker was dashing forward taking a Kroos pass in the area.
55 min: Scramble at the Italian goal goal as Ozil out a dangerous ball in, but Sami Khedira gets crowded out.
52 min: Poor clearance by Hummel as Italians go forward Cassano has the ball and puts it in the box, but intercepted by Badstuber.
50 min: CHANCE for Germany, captain Lahm hits it just over the bar. Rues making his presence felt with another good cross that led to the effort.
48 min: Reus with some good trickery goes past Bonucci but cannot beat Buffon. Good work by the substitute there.
46 min: SUBSTITUTION Klose (in) - Gomez (out) (Germany) and Reus (in) - Podolski (out) (Germany).
After 45 minutes it is the Azzurri who are up 2:0 courtesy super Balotelli's double strike. Germans would be crestfallen as they missed crucial oppurtunity to see the class of Balotelli take the game away from them in the first half.
SUPER MARIO STRIKING A POSE
45 min: 1 minute of added time.
41 min: Antonio Cassano goes down after hurdling a challenge from Badstuber, and Germany sportingly put the ball out of play. Temporary break.
40 min: Daniele De Rossi goes sliding in on Khedira, and leaves the Madrid player in a crumpled heap. Totally fair tackle. Totally smashed his opponent.
36 min: YELLOW card for Balotelli for his celebrations, as the Man City bad boy, takes his shirt off after his 2nd goal of the match, as he strikes a menacing pose.
35 min: Mario BalotelliSCORES BALOTELLIIIIIIII!!! THUNDEROUS FINISH Fantastic through pass from Riccardo Montolivo has the German defence caught napping, Balotelli in a on side position unmarked, takes the ball down, moves forward, Lahm dashes in to intercept, but Balotelli launches a
ROCKET past Nueur and BANG, top corner UNSTOPPABLE. ITALY 2-0 GERMANY!
35 min: Khedira with a long range effort, great shot only to be deined by Buffon.
34 min: FANTASTIC DEFENDING Balzaretti from right back position dashes ahead of Podolski to intercept a Boateng cross.
33 min: Balotelli fouled again, this by Badstuber, free kick for Italy.
31 min:Boateng (Germany) penalized for foul on Balotelli (Italy).
29 min: Ozil again with the3 charge as he goes past two Italians to pass the ball to Kroos who is unable find a pass to Gomez.
27 min: Ozil with a shot on goal,
Buffon stumbles again but saves.
24 min: Gomez misses Gomez gets across his marker to meet a cross from Boateng, but heads wide. Half-chance, but well off target in the end.
23 min: Marchisio (Italy) is penalised for a foul on Schweinsteiger (Germany).
20 min: Mario Balotelli SCORESPirlo started the play with a super pass to Chiellini down the left , the defender finds Cassano, who sends in a clipped cross towards Balotelli. He muscles past Badstuber, and a powerful header past Neuer. ITALY 1 - 0 GERMANY.
19 min: Now it is Cassano with a shot on goal, Nueur dives full length to his left to take the ball.
17 min: first real opportunity for Italy as Montolivo tries a ground shot well stopped by Nueur.
15 min:German forward moving well. Ozil with some great trickery.
14 min:Hummels (Germany) concedes a free-kick for a foul on Balotelli (Italy).
12 min: What a chance for Germany, Buffon splills one, deflected off Barzagli.Low angled cross by Jérôme Boateng into the danger area, buffon's defenders doing their job and clearing for a corner. A close shave. Dangerous for Italy. Ozil with the corner and Kroos (Germany) has an effort on goal, good one, Buffon moves to his right smartly to punch away the ball.
11 min: Ambitious shot on goal by Kroos, taken easily by Gigi Buffon
10 min: Good ball in by Pirlo, Balotelli takes it down well , but stupendous defense by Hummel to clear the ball.
8 minPodolski (Germany) concedes a free-kick for a foul on De Rossi (Italy).
6 min: Another corner for Germany. Ozil takes it, Chiellini clears well.
5 min: Corner to Germany, as Podolski is brought down by Balzaretti. CHANCE for the Germans. Kroos (Germany) takes the corner. Khedira (Germany) has an effort on goal. Pirlo (Italy) blocks a shot at goal line. Not convincing.
4 min: Wayward header by Khedira as the ball rolls just wide of Balotelli, Neuer with a sweeping save. Balotelli was nowhere near.
2 min: Germany have the wryly attack and a wide Gomez pass leads to a goal kick taken by Buffon.
1 min: And we are off, Azzurri have history on their side, the Germans have the momentum. It will be Balotelli, Pirlo vs Gomez, Ozil. Italy start off the proceedings.
There they walk out, both the teams, and it is the Italian national anthem up first and what a reception by the Azzurri fans!!!
In the tunnel, Gianluigi Buffon and Manuel Neuer have high-fived each other, a sign of the mutual respect and admiration they have already publicly expressed for each other.
Mario Balotelli, starting up front again tonight for Italy and Gomez is in for Germany.
Gianluigi Buffon will equal Dino Zoff’s record of 24 games in goal for the Azzurri at major international competitions tonight. What a servant he has been. And still one of the best in the business.
There is some ‘PRETTY’ good support for both the teams at The National stadium, Warsaw.
Italy: Buffon, Chiellini, Balzaretti, Barzagli, Bonucci, Marchisio, De Rossi, Montolivo, Pirlo, Balotelli, Cassano
SUBS: Sirigu, De Sanctis, Ogbonna, Abate, Motta, Giaccherini, Diamanti, Nocerino, Di Natale, Borini, Giovinco.
Germany: Neuer, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Boateng, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Özil, Kroos, Podolski, Gomez
SUBS: Wiese, Zieler, Schmelzer, Höwedes, Mertesacker, Gündogan, Schürrle, Müller, Bender, Götze, Reus, Klose.
Welcome to our LIVE COVERAGE of the second semifinal of the 2012 Euro Championships.
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Italy and Germany will lock horns on Thursday in their bid to join Spain in the finals of the prestigious competition.
The Germans had already indicated who they’d prefer (England) in the semifinal when asked to choose from England and Italy. Their wish remained unfulfilled as the Azzurri booked their place in the last four after their quarterfinal clash against England went to penalties.
I have a lot of respect and admiration for what Juventus have achieved over the last few years.