Mario Balotelli scores his second goal of the match against Germany- AFP Photo
Mario Balotelli scores his second goal of the match against Germany- AFP Photo

WARSAW:  A Mario Balotelli header and a thumping drive gave Italy a richly deserved 2-1 win over Germany in Thursday's Euro 2012 semi-final in Warsaw.

The 21-year-old struck a first half brace to stun the Germans before a Mesut Ozil penalty reduced the deficit at the death.

Italy will play defending champions Spain in the final on Sunday in Kiev.

Balotelli headed in on 20 minutes after a superlative piece of skill and cross from Antonio Cassano, who out-foxed two defenders before delivering the striker his chance on a plate.

Then on 36 minutes Balotelli produced a scintillating second, smashing home from just outside the box after beating the offside trap after a Riccardo Montolivo through ball played him into acres of space.

Balotell removed his shirt and stood stock still to milk the applause - taking the resulting booking as a minor irritation.

Although the Germans put the pressure on after the interval Claudio Marchisio could have added further goals after the break as he broke free twice only to fire narrowly wide.

With 20 minutes remaining Balotelli gave way to Antonio Di Natale after pulling up with cramp.

Di Natale came close as he fired into the side netting late on as the Italians maintained their record of never losing to the Germans at a major tournament.

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Comments (6)

Cyrus Howell
June 29, 2012 3:24 am
Perhaps Mario will be more well liked by the football fans in Italy now.
Cyrus Howell
June 29, 2012 3:33 am
Italy will need more than just one man to defeat Spain. + Spain plays a ball control game, save their energy, don't get worried and allow their opponents to make mistakes that they can profit from. Spain won the last World Cup with their world class midfielders. + Italy need a blessing from the Pope and a miracle from the Heavens.
Syed
June 29, 2012 8:16 am
Don't underestimate the players of Italy....they had a below par qualification and a below par perfomance at the friendlies...now they are back and very strong. I bet they beat Spain as they did against Germany! And Balotelli is more than just one man! Go Figure!
Noman
June 29, 2012 6:26 am
Italians really surprised. Germans were going as a goal machine thus far. Well it proves in today's soccer, strong defence is backbone to succesfull title. would be interesting to pitch spain/italy against Brazil now. But good luck to both Italy/Spain for the Finals.
ahmadali86
June 29, 2012 7:36 pm
So Sunday is going to be a big day for ball fans. Let's see what Mario has kept for Spanish ball players. Seems like both team will perform their seasons best play.
M. Asghar
June 29, 2012 9:36 am
Yes, Mario did punch through ferociously for the second goal and then stood in a corner in a stiff, shirtless glory to be feted.
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