Germany vs. Italy Highlights: Dissecting Top Plays of Italy's Triumph

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Germany vs. Italy Highlights: Dissecting Top Plays of Italy's Triumph

Italy shocked the world in dramatic fashion on Thursday in Warsaw, knocking out Germany in the Euro 2012 semifinals, 2-1.

Behind Mario Balotelli's two goals, the Italians held a comfortable lead for most of the match before Mesut Ozil converted a penalty shot in stoppage time.

By then, however, time was running out for the Germans and they suffered a defeat that will surely haunt them for years to come.

Here's a look at the three goals that were scored in Euro 2012.

 

Mario Balotelli's first goal

The Italians didn't waste any time in their spectacular upset of Germany on Thursday.

In the early going, Giorgio Chiellini fed Antonio Cassano on the left side of the pitch. After splitting two German defenders with some excellent footwork, Cassano quickly swung a cross that curved around the defense and met Mario Balotelli, who headed the ball into the net from point-blank range in the 20th minute.  

Cassano deserves a wealth of credit for that goal with some beautiful play on the ball, but it is Balotelli who will ultimately be remembered in a fantastic showing for the Italians. 

 

Mario Balotelli's second goal

While the Italians' first goal was more a product of excellent offense than Germany's defense, Mario Balotelli's second goal was almost handed to him.

German captain and defender Philip Lahm simply lost sight of Balotelli as the 21-year-old raced down the center of the pitch.

With Lahm eying Riccardo Montolivo down the pitch, Montolivo lofted a long ball across the field which met an unmarked Balotelli. From there, it was only a matter of Balotelli converting, and that he did, curving a shot into the right corner of the net. 

 

Germany's last-gasp effort

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Things certainly got interesting after stoppage time on Thursday. With Italy holding a 2-0 lead, Federico Balzaretti was whistled for a handball in the 92nd minute.

That led to Mesut Ozil curling the ball into right of the net from the spot of the penalty, helping to solidify him as one of Germany's best players in the tournament.

But as Germany desperately tried for an equalizer with time ticking—and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer moved up to midfield to help out—the final whistle blew, and the favorites had been knocked out of the match and the tournament.

Italy will now face Spain in the Euro 2012 final on Sunday at Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine (airing at 2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN3).

 

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