Another masterpiece from Andrea Pirlo while Mario Balotelli showed levels of clinical finishing no one knew he had. Germany compeltely fell apart, throwing away one streak out the window while continuing their lack of success against Italy on the biggest stages. Euro 2012 has only one match left, the final – Spain against Italy for a second time in this tournament.
Joachim Low tried something knew by bringing in Toni Kroos in the lineup, which was one of the things that completely backfired on him. Instead of adding another player that can take care of the ball and help Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil, he exposed the flank with a player who knows nothing about being a winger, losing a chance to try and attack Italy from the wings. Starting with Reus or Muller would have been a better idea.
Prandelli and the Italian spirit were the big winners on the Warsaw pitch. After withstanding the early German pressure, including one save by Andrea Pirlo and an awkward one from Buffon, Italy took over. The pressure on Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil left Podolski and Mario Gomez useless and helpless, while Mario Balotelli easily handled Badstuber on the other end, beating him in the air for the first goal and breaking a terrible offside trap for the wonderful second goal.
If there’s one team you don’t want to go chasing, it’s Italy. Still, the Italian saw what they were dealing with – Not a team, but a group of talented individuals who got picked apart by a more intelligent and committed team. The German spirit was gone, and despite all the praises this ‘new’ Germany gets all the time – for their style, their goals and what not, it seems they lack something on the biggest of stages, time and time again.
Italy were much closer to make it 3 and 4-0, with Claudio Marchisio, Antonio Di Natale and Alessandro Diamanti missing comfortable chances. Germany completely forsake their defending, but didn’t make up for it by adding pressure on the Italian defense, playing without any real thought or purpose behind their attacks. A random penalty, which many referees wouldn’t have given, gave Ozil a chance to put his name on the score sheet despite having a terrible match.
It’s on to Kiev and facing Spain, for the second time in this tournament. The confidence level couldn’t be any higher in the Italian camp, who seem to be learning and showing us that it’s not all about defense and ‘catenaccio’. They’re simply playing better football than most teams thus far, although against a Spanish team that they’ve already faces it’s going to be much more difficult.