Mario Ballotelli, Italy National Team
EURO 2012 ITALY 2-1 GERMANY
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Extending its winless streak against Italy in major tournaments to eight matches, Germany could not stop Balotelli nor Antonio Cassano.
In the 20th minute, Balotelli got past Holger Badstuber to head in a cross from Cassano. Then in the 36th, the 21-year-old striker blasted a long shot past the goalkeeper into the top right corner.
Italy will face defending champion Spain in Sunday’s final in Kyiv, Ukraine — a rematch of their 1-1 draw that opened Group C.
While Italy has won four World Cups, it’s only European Championship title came in 1968.
Cassano set up the opening goal. The second goal by Balotelli went past Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who stood immobile.
Balotelli took off his jersey after his second goal, which drew an automatic yellow card, although he will not miss the final.
In the 35th, Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon preserved the Azzurri lead by swatting away a long shot from Sami Khedira — and Balotelli doubled the lead a minute later.
To start the second half, Germany coach Joachim Loew brought on Miroslav Klose for Mario Gomez at centre forward and replaced Lukas Podolski with Marco Reus on the wing. Di Natale came on in the 70th after Balotelli went out with a cramp to his left leg.
Germany: Manuel Neuer, Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gomez, Lukas Podolski.
Italy: Gianluigi Buffon, Federico Balzaretti, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Daniele De Rossi, Claudio Marchisio, Riccardo Montolivo, Andrea Pirlo, Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano.
EURO 2012 FINAL Olympic Stadium Kiev