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Date: 25 April 2019

  General - Soccer

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Balotelli's Italy knocks Germany off Euro 2012

[Posted 29 Jun 2012]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Emotional scenes as Mario Balotelli hugs his adoptive mom Silvia after the match
Super Mario Balotelli's two first half strikes gave Italy all the advantage in tightly contested Euro 2012 semi-final match between two of Europe's top three sides, Italy and Germany.

At Warsaw's National Stadium, Mario proved to many that he is the rising star of Italian football, when he made use Italy's chances to give his country advantage in a tightly contested semi-final.

The 21-year old Manchester City striker added goals to his otherwise brilliant show at the Euro 2012. In the quarter-final against England, Balotelli played his heart out, was threatening, but could just not find a way past goalkeeper Joe Hart.

On Thursday night, Balotelli showed how lethal he was by putting away two first chances created by Italy. First was in inch-perfect cross from Antonio Cassano which gave the Azurri a 1-0 lead.

Sixteen minutes later, Balotelli returned to haunt Germany and leave their legions of fans shell-shocked when he fired a screamer past Manuel Neuer from a brilliant Riccardo
Montolivo's pass to give Italy a 2-0 lead going into half-time.

The second half was always going to prove difficult for Italy as Germany were expected to throw everything at the Azurri, and they did just that after the break, but there was always the danger lurking of Italy hitting them on a counter.

And Italy squandered the chance to punish Germany on the counter on numerous occasions when the Germans poured forward, leaving them exposed in midfield.

Though the Italian did very well to defend in the second half, the pressure from the Germans told right at the death when Germany won a penalty, and play-maker Mesut Ozil converted past a desperately diving Buffon.

That goal made the final four minutes of added time really tense, as the Germans raided the Italian goal at will, but the night belonged to the Italians, as inspired by the Super-Mario!

The 2-0 lead at half time is by no means a suggestion that the the Azurri had it easy in Warsaw. If anything, the Germans could have taken the lead more than ten minutes before Mario struck first.

First, it was Mats Hummels who could have scored, but his volley was cleared off-line by Andrea Pirlo. Jerome Boateng had a chance to register his name on the score-sheet, and Gianluigi Buffon was lucky that there was no-one to somehow have prevented it from going in after having fumbled it in the first place.

The Italians will now contest the final against Spain in Kiev, Ukraine on Sunday.

Below are the post match reactions which clearly show that the senior Italian players are not getting carried away by the result. Mario, ofcourse, being Mario, a 21-year old free spirit was over the moon, but  he is also not getting carried away.

Post match Reactions

Mario Balotelli

"This was the greatest night of my life and I hope Sunday will be better," Balotelli said.

"At the end of the game I went to my mother - that was the best moment," he added.

"I told her these goals were for her. I waited a long
time for this moment, especially as my mother is not young anymore and
can't travel far, so I had to make her happy when she came all the way
here. My father will be in Kiev for the final too." 

"In football sometimes you can try so many times and it
doesn't go in, or try few and it does all the time. It was a fantastic
assist, the kind only Antonio Cassano can provide, while Riccardo
Montolivo's pass was great too."

Gianluigi Buffon- Italy captain

Commenting on how Italy squandered chances and allowed the Germans to make the final five minutes unbearable, here is what Buffon, who stormed off the field in protest had to say:

"I was annoyed because I don't celebrate second place and I was angry
with us because we could have avoided the difficult final five minutes,"
Buffon said

"When you can score seven goals against Germany, you have to score seven
because if they come back to 2-2 they'll beat you 10-2 in extra-time.
We need to be more mature and to know that even if football is a game,
when you reach the European Championship final, it's no longer a game."

Italy Play-maker Andrea Pirlo

The Azurri play-maker understands that the Italians have not won anything yet.

"We haven't done anything yet," he said. "There's no use going to Rome
and not seeing the Pope. We want to go home with this cup," cautioned Andrea Pirlo.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli

"Mario is rather unique, he's atypical. He's very strong and
fights for the team. He's always been there when called upon and he
fights in the penalty area," he said.

"The career of Mario Balotelli has only just begun."

Alan Shearer- former England striker and skipper

"Balotelli did everything right against England without reward but he he
got his rewards against Germany. His performance was sensational. He
was bigger, stronger and he got goals. He added everything we wanted him
to add to his game. It was the perfect performance."


AFCON 2013
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