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Euro 2012 semi-final: Germany 1 Italy 2

SoccerNews in European Championships 28 Jun 2012

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A Mario Balotelli brace has guided Italy into the Euro 2012 final after a 2-1 win over Germany on Thursday.

Cesare Prandelli’s men will face Spain in Sunday’s decider after their surprisingly comfortable victory against one of the pre-tournament favourites in the semi-final.

Mesut Oezil pulled a goal back for Germany in second-half added time, but Italy survived the late onslaught.

Italy were inspired by Manchester City star Balotelli, who struck twice in the first half to take his tally for the tournament to three goals.

He opened the scoring in the 20th minute, escaping his marker before nodding a cross from Antonio Cassano past Manuel Neuer.

Balotelli doubled his team’s advantage in spectacular fashion nine minutes before half-time.

A long Riccardo Montolivo pass found Balotelli in acres of space, and the 21-year-old burst clear before firing a shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Germany piled on the pressure in the second half and were rewarded in the second minute of added time when they were awarded a penalty for a Federico Balzaretti handball.

Oezil stepped up to convert, but Italy held on to reach their first European Championship final since 2000.

They will be aiming for their first European title since 1968 when they face Spain in Kiev on Sunday.

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