Germany choked against the Angstgegner Italy 1-2 and is out of the Euro. It was actually a good game, and the DFB squad will be losing a lot of sleep over this one. They certainly had their chances to win, but sucked when it really counted, and the Italians were way too clever for them. So what else is new? Germany has won only 7 times in 30 tries against Italy, and *never* in an important tournament. The Germans virtually get “owned” everytime, and today was no different.
Coach Joachim Löw did make one change, bringing in Toni Kroos in place of Thomas Müller, perhaps with the idea of adding some more steel in the defense. Schweinsteiger continued, despite the earlier injury worries. The DFB squad pressed from the opening minutes, and came dangersouly close to scoring early when Hummels forced the ball in, Pirlo clearing off the line. Especially with Mesut Özil raiding from the right, Germany looked they wanted to blow Italy off the map. However, the Italian squad was well organzied and positioned. By no means was this a traditional catenaccio type squad. They did pack the midfield, and were tight in defense. But as the game wore on, they began to exploit some glaring weaknesses in the German defense. Especially Cassano on the left made Boateng look flat-footed. After a few decent long shots (no trouble for Neuer though), the Italians opened the scoring in the 20th. Cassano once again faked Boateng out of his jockstrap, and flipped in a delicate cross. Badstuber wasn’t paying attention and could only flail like a wanker as Balotelli rose and majestically headed home, no chance for Neuer. Italy had stunningly taken the lead.
Germany reacted with some fierce attacks, but Buffon had shaken off some early tentativeness and came up with some excellent saves. Then a classic sucker punch, as Montalivo (dangerous especially in the fierce half) launched a long ball that caught Badstuber and Hummels sleeping. Ballotelli raced through and despite a desperate lunge by Philip Lahm, the infant terrible of Italian football blasted a rocket into the net. Neuer just waved helplessly. At this point, most realists knew the game was over. In this form, no way Italy was giving back this game. However to their credit, Germany didn’t give up.
At half-time, Löw pulled two absolutely worthless players. Podolski had pretty much stunk the whole tournament, and this match was no exception. His only contribution was to probably knock out an Italian fan as he blasted some 50 rows into the stands on another one of his horrible misses. Mario Gomez was also terrible, looked like a tree stump out there, no movement, stumbling over his feet. So Marco Reus and Miro Klose came on. Reus especially added to Germany’s attack, and the DFB squad desperately assaulted the Italian goal. However the defense and Buffon were up to the task, the latter making another great save as he tipped a Reus-rocket off the cross bar. After about 30 minutes of attack, the Germans were beginning to run out of gas. Italy had a few chances to finish them off, but wasted them. Perhaps they were ordered not to embarass Angela Merkel too much because Italy is going to want a euro bailout soon. Germany finally launched some last gasp assaults at the end, and Italy gave up a handball penalty, Özil converting. But everybody knew the game was over. A deserved win for Italy, as Prandelli outfoxed Joggi Löw. Although several players were quite good, some key contributors failed, and finishing was terrible. Overall, however, it wasn’t a bad German performance. They were aggressive, attacked, controlled large portions of the match. This effort probably would have beaten just about anybody. But Italy knows how to play against Germany, and they sucker punched them like they always do.
Germany - Italy 1:2 (0:2) Attendance: 55,540 (Warsaw) 0:1 Balotelli (20., Cassano) 0:2 Balotelli (36., Montolivo) 1:2 Özil (90. + 2, penalty) GERMANY: Neuer Boateng (71. Th. Müller), Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm Schweinsteiger, Khedira Kroos, Özil, Podolski (46. Reus) Gomez (46. Klose). ITALY: Buffon Balzarettii, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini Pirlo Marchisio, Montolivo (64. Thiago Motta), De Rossi Balotelli (70. Di Natale), Cassano (58. Diamanti).