Italy will face defending champions Spain in the Euro 2012 final, after a brace from Mario Balotelli helped his team upset the tournament favorites from Germany 2-1 in the semis.
The Germans have never beaten Italy at the major tournament and – despite all the forecasts – they couldn’t break that tradition on Thursday in Warsaw, Poland.
Germany were better at start of the match and missed out on a great opportunity to take the lead in the 5th minute.
Italy’s keeper, Gianluigi Buffon, hesitated at a corner, allowing defender Mats Hummels to shoot from close range, but Andrea Pirlo cleared the ball off the line.
The Italians managed to hold off Germany’s early push and stunned their opponents with an opener in the 20th minute.
Antonio Cassano chipped the ball to Mario Balotelli, who beat Holger Badstuber in the air, heading home for a 1-0 lead.
Cesare Prandelli’s men didn’t allow Germany to recover as they continued their attacks to double their lead on 36th minutes.
Riccardo Montolivo's long ball sent Balotelli one-on-one with keeper Manuel Neuer and Super Mario completed his brace with a powerful blast to make it 2-0.
Joachim Loew made two substitutions at the break, introducing striker Miroslav Klose and attacking midfielder Marco Reus into the game.
Germany spent most of the second period in the Italian half, but couldn’t create too many threats, with their rivals’ counter-attacks carrying a lot more danger.
A free-kick from Reus made Buffon work, with the veteran keeper deflecting the ball onto the crossbar.
Germany eventually got their goal but it was too little too late when the referee awarded them a penalty for Federico Balzaretti's handball. Mesut Ozil was perfect from the spot, making the final score 2-1.
Italy will now face World and European champions Spain in the final in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on July 1. It’ll be the second meeting for the teams in the tournament as they played a 1-1 draw in the group stages.