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Germany Defeat Italy At Euro 2016

Germany finally defeated Italy on penalties, in the messiest of shootouts, dashing Italy’s hopes of winning Euro 2016.

germany players celebrate

By Dave Bowler

On they march, just about. Germany finally defeated Italy on penalties, in the messiest of shootouts, and their hopes of winning the Euros, to go with the World Cup, they collected two years ago survive.

The first half was the proverbial chess game as the two sides set about their tactical business. Germany came into the game by matching up systems with Italy, going three at the back and, in doing so, preventing Italy’s wing backs pressing so high up the pitch and helping dictate matters as they had against Spain in particular.

Consequently, Germany just shaded the first half in territorial terms, although in terms of decent chances, it was one apiece, Muller not really getting behind a snapshot from just inside the box, Sturaro having a searing drive deflected just wide by a crucial block from Boateng.

After the break, Germany upped the tempo and started to push Italy further into retreat, though for long stretches it was a position that caused them no real alarms, defending with some real assurance.

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Ozil Scores

Eventually though, the Germans got in behind them in slightly unlikely fashion from a long kick by Neuer and an error by the otherwise excellent Florenzi that allowed Gomez to get away.

A clever pass released Hector on the overlap to cut a cross back, a helpful deflection sitting the ball up perfectly for Ozil to rifle inside the near post in the 65th minute. Moments later, a marvellous pass from Ozil set Gomez up inside the six yard box only for Chiellini to get in the way and Buffon to complete matters with a fabulous reflex save as Germany went for the kill.

They looked to be seeing out time happily enough until, extraordinarily, Boateng gave away a penalty with a ridiculous hand ball. Up stepped Bonucci and tucked the spot kick – the first he’d ever taken in a game beyond a penalty shootout – into the bottom corner with a dozen minutes to go. Game back on and on, almost inevitably, to extra time.

It was the traditionally anti-climactic half an hour, Draxler hooking the best chance over his head and over the bar from three yards out as Germany were the more positive outfit but penalties had beckoned from the first minute and duly arrived to the surprise of absolutely nobody.

Dismal Penalties

What was surprising were the dismal penalties from Zaza – a Waddle of an effort – and Muller’s weak as water effort which Buffon gobbled up, this after Insigne and Kroos had scored. After Barzagli drilled in, Ozil missed too, then Pelle dragged a weary effort way off target. Draxler squared it up and then Neuer pulled off a marvellous save to deny Bonucci of all people.

The game was won, surely? But the similarly exhausted Schweinsteiger blazed over to make it 2-2 after five each. Giaccherini showed everyone how it should be done as did Hummels, just about. A terrified looking Parolo scored straight down the middle and Kimmich responded by squeezing his shot in the corner. Penalty eight came from De Sciglio and that went in off the bar before Boateng atoned in part for his error in normal time by scoring too.

A woeful effort from Darmian was saved all too easily, leaving Hector to drill the ball through Buffon and in. After all, that’s what happens in shootouts isn’t it? The Germans always win.

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