The Euro 2012 semifinals gave us an opposite scenario to what was predicted – The Spain – Portugal match was the tactical, flair-less affair, with both teams drawing the match out to penalty kicks, with Cristiano Ronaldo literally looking on and doing nothing, while Italy played better than anyone else, upsetting Germany 2-0.

Never Knew What hit Them

While Germany were still trying to understand what happened with the marking and the coverage in the first goal, Montolivo’s brilliant pass found Mario Balotelli staying onside and finishing the one on one in the best way possible, giving Italy a shocking 2-0 lead. It just looked like Germany weren’t at all prepared to what Italy had set up for them.

Brought Them to Their Knees

Mesut Ozil just wasn’t himself, mostly thanks to the Italian defense and midfield that made life impossible for the Real Madrid star. He did get to score nothing more than a consolation goal, and just like Bastian Schweinsteiger, the engine to the German car, couldn’t really put his mark on the match in a positive way.

A Low Point

Joachim Low is well loved and appreciated, but something’s missing in his Germany team, although it’s hard to point out exactly what. Two Semifinal exits, one final loss. Despite the style and the praises, something doesn’t work in money time, and as it happens for a third time despite being regarded by many as the favorites to win the tournament, fingers will be pointed at the head coach.

Italian Celebrations

Some predicted (us as well) that Italy wouldn’t even make it out of the group stage. A 1-1 draw with Spain was followed by another 1-1 draw against Croatia, but things started to look much better. Solid defense with a bit more of an attacking bite to this team than previously thought, things just went on and improved. The England match did need a penalty shootout to decide it, but Italy played well there too. Against Germany came the best they had, so far.

WAG at Work

Sara Carbonero, the fiancee of Iker Casillas, gets photographed while she’s doing her job, which is watching football matches, just as much as her boyfriend and the other players do.

Perfect Plan

Portugal simply neutralized Spain’s attacking game for the first 90 minutes. A lot of pressure in the midfield on Xavi, Iniesta and Silva left Spain to get their chances through set pieces, in which Portugal have a clear advantage. Their defensive plans worked very well, their offensive plans didn’t work out as hoped.

Out of his Hands

Penalty kicks for the right to make the European finals, and Cristiano Ronaldo takes the spectator seat. He wanted to take the fifth kick, but no one told him he might not get to take it. Bruno Alves missed, Cesc Fabregas scored through a lucky bounce, and all the cameras were pointed at one man, who had a bad match to end a good tournament.

Still Looking for Recognition

Cesc Fabregas was born during the wrong era in Spanish football. Instead of being a marquee part of the starting lineup, he finds himself in and out again, playing as a retreated striker. Too much Xavi, Iniesta and David Silva in the world leave the player who’s always been there for Spain in the big tournaments (assist to Iniesta in World Cup final) in a constant state of trying to prove himself. Maybe his penalty, sending Spain to the final, changed something in his stature with the national team.

Images: Source