Euro 2012: Germany v Italy as it happened

Live text commentary as Italy defeat Germany in the National Stadium in Warsaw to set up a Euro 2012 final against Spain.

28 June 2012 Last updated at 23:00

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As it happened

  1. 2258:  

    Whoever you make as favourites, you can follow the game across the BBC. The game is live on BBC One and BBC One HD, on BBC Radio 5 live and of course, right here on the BBC Sport website.

    We shall you see you on Sunday I hope. For now, arrivederci.

  2. 2251:  

    So who do we make as favourite for the final on Sunday then? Spain are defending champions and won the World Cup two years ago, but Italy have produced a superb performance tonight and gave the Spanish a serious test in their Group game.

  3. 2247:  

    Here's a bit of comfort for Germany supporters out there.

    Despite that defeat, the ages of the 23 members of this squad are: 26, 30, 23, 24, 24, 23, 23, 28, 27, 23, 21, 25, 27, 23, 23, 22, 19, 22, 21, 27, 34, 22 and 26.

    Plenty of football left in that lot yet, with only reserve goalkeeper Tim Wiese joining Miroslav Klose in the over-30 club.


    Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini: "We're living a dream along with millions of Italians.

    "We're going to enjoy this victory a little longer, then we'll think about Sunday, because we want to continue dreaming."


    Seb Bloom on Twitter: "Staggering... Who'd have thought ‪Germany‬ and Nadal‬ out on the same night?"

    Alan Hayward on Twitter: "Dear Roy, may I recommend that for the WC2014 we scrap the training camp and go with a match fixing scandal."


    Brent in London on text: "Pirlo is like an expensive whisky, the more he gets over 30 the better he is."


    Italy striker Mario Balotelli: "These two goals are really important.

    "The first one was a really amazing pass from Antonio Cassano and then it was easy. When Cassano gives you an assist it is easy.

    "The second one was a great pass from Montolivo, normally I shoot in the other corner but I went for the near post.

    "With Spain we are the two best teams in the tournament. Can we win? I'll tell you on Sunday."

  8. 2225:  

    Football Focus presenter Dan Walker is currently trying to track down Mario Balotelli in the bowels of the Warsaw Stadium. Let's hope he has more joy than the German defence.

  9. 2219:  

    Germany striker Miroslav Klose has collected an unwanted record this evening after coming on as a substitute at half-time.

    The striker made his fifth appearance in a semi-final match at a major tournament, more than any other player. Klose has been on the winning side twice, and, after tonight, has lost three of those.

    After 121 caps, 64 goals (17 of which have been at major tournaments), I wonder if we have seen the last of the 34-year-old on the international stage?


    Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio: "We showed we're on Spain's level and that's where we started this run.

    "It's no longer a question of fear. Now we've got to pull out everything we still have inside ourselves."

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "Peter Schmeichel gives Italy's Andrea Pirlo man of the match award and calls his performance 'a piece of art'."

  12. 2214:  

    Forget getting through to Sunday's final, Italy's major achievement tonight is booking a place in next summer's Confederations Cup in Brazil with that win.

    They will join World Champions Spain, Japan, Uruguay, Mexico and hosts Brazil, while Tahiti are the surprise qualifiers as champions of Oceania.

    The African participant will be the team which lifts next year's Africa Cup of Nations.


    Italy coach Cesare Prandelli: "We have played an extraordinary game. We have given an example of how to show grace and an attachment to the shirt."

    Asked about Mario Balotelli's performance he added: "He's brilliant, but this was a team effort. We played a fantastic game against a really good side.

    "We did those things that put the opponents in difficulty. The career of Mario Balotelli has only just begun."

  14. 2208:  

    Andrea Pirlo has just been given a round of applause after collecting his man-of-the-match award in the press conference. Like a fine wine or a mature cheese, he is getting better with age.


    Dave in Harrogate on text: "Germany didn't press the ball enough, hardly a foul risked. Looked tired on the night and overawed. Well done Italy."

    Peter Illingworth on text: "A deserved result for a tactically superb Italy. England can take more credit than they have been given for a brave rearguard action against the best team in the tournament."

  16. 2205:  

    Rafael Nadal has just been dumped out of Wimbledon - but at least he'll be able to have a few cervezas on Sunday night while watching Spain in the final.

    Manchester City and Argentina forward Sergio Aguero:

    "Bravissimo, Mario!"

    Former England defender Martin Keown in Warsaw:

    "The Germans made mistakes, and surely it was arrogance which meant tht they didn't address the Pirlo issue. Loew believes in what he was going to do but he didn't learn from the England game and Pirlo was given far too much room to stroll around midfield.

    "Surely the Spanish will learn, it will affect Del Bosque's team selection for the final and I think he will not play a striker on Sunday.

    "And of course it was great to see Balotelli playing the game of his life, he lit this stadium up and the tournament."

  19. 2201:  

    After two goalless matches in a row, we were all praying for goals tonight and the lads delivered. Specifically, Mario Balotelli delivered.


    Josh on Twitter: "Re Gary Lineker (2133): 'Bogey team' in German is 'Angstgegner'..."

    Former England defender Martin Keown in Warsaw:

    "The German machine didn't know where to go at the final whistle, they thought this was their tournament, they thought they were destined to win it. In contrast the Italians were understandably overjoyed. They are emotional people but they had the will to win and the determination tonight."


    Richard Smith on Twitter: "Well, I got that wrong! Thought Germany would have had that one. Spain v Italy it is on Sunday."

    Ken Mok on Twitter: "Amazing defensive display from Italy, I have to say."

    Erik Zoha on Twitter: "Nadal looks to be heading out of Wimbledon. Omen for the Euro 2012 final?"


    Former Italy international Gianluca Vialli on MOTD: "Cesare Prandelli has been excellent. We all knew he was a very good coach, but at this level, you have to prove yourself and he has done that so far. Pirlo is a phenomenal player and you have to choose the right players to play alongside him and he has got that right."


    Mich on text: "Everyone goes on about Spain's passing but what about Italy's defending? Absolutely brilliant."

    Ben in Carshalton on text: "Italy have reached a major final every six years since 1994. Impressive!"

    Will Rider on text: "As my childhood has taught me, Mario and Luigi always get the job done."

    Matt in Oxford on text: "Klose, but no cigar."

  25. 2150:  

    Does tonight's display give Andrea Pirlo the man of the tournament award? He was outstanding again.

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "Mario Balotelli being kissed and hugged by a tearful old Italian lady as he makes his way off. Marvellous scenes."


    Former Italy international Gianluca Vialli on MOTD: "Balotelli has shown he can be a terrific striker. He has the potential to be the best in the world.

    "He has to get his act right off the pitch and concentrate on the pitch. He has to use his strength and if he manages to combine that, he will be the finished article, but you have to remember he is only 21.

    "We were excellent against the Spanish earlier in the tournament and they keep possession most of the time. Unlike Barcelona, they don't have Messi but they are world and European champions. It will be difficult for Italy."


    Stuart Glover on Twitter: "So the much-admired German football system fails to win anything again? Why are we admiring it so much?"

    Vinny G Magesa on Twitter: "Italy really are good. I think they fancy their chances after this game. They also did well in the group stages against Spain..."

    Kurt Abela on Twitter: "These seven Bayern Munich players have now lost the league title, Cup final, Champions League final and Euro semi-final."

    Former Germany manager Jurgen Klinsmann on MOTD:

    "The future for Germany lies within that team, but tonight you could clearly see they hit the wall. They were outplayed by Italy in the first half and Italy produced a magnificent display in the second half. Italy get all the credit tonight, they were deserved winners.

    "As a whole team Germany couldn't match up with Italy, they lost all the battles in midfield. They couldn't control Pirlo, they couldn't control Montolivo, they couldn't control De Rossi. And on nights like this you need a star and tonight Balotelli was that man."

  30. 2144:  

    Italy and Spani met in the opening game of Group C of course, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw. We shall see what happens in the second meeting in the final in Kiev on Sunday.


    Former Italy international Gianluca Vialli on MOTD: "I am very proud to be Italian tonight. It was a terrific performance and result. Italy are by far the most surprising team in the tournament. The way we got this result against the fresher German team and the way we defended was brilliant, no other team has done that so far. We were clinical and it was a great performance. Well done to the Italian boys."

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "Mario Balotelli takes centre stage once more as Italy secure a Euro 2012 final place against Spain. Germany dejected but a great effort by the Italians as they had 48 hours less to prepare after coming through extra time and penalties to defeat England."

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "This German team haven't won anything and I think the pressure's told. There was no balance to the team and no movement, and Italy dictated the pace. Italy are the team of the tournament."

    Former England captain Alan Shearer on MOTD:

    "Italy thoroughly deserve it. Italy were the better team, in the first half they were clinical. They should have had two or three more in the second half. When they were asked questions by Germany in the second half, they came up with all the answers.

    "It was a perfect performance by Balotelli - he produced everything we hoped he would and more. Italians are the deserved winners. No question."

    Former England manager Graham Taylor in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "All of the Italian players, the substitutes and the whole bench have rushed on to the pitch. Tremendous result for them, and they should take credit."

  36. 2141:  

    So what do you make of all that then? What about Mario Balotelli? Did we expect more from Germany? Fire over a Tweet using the hashtag #bbcfootball, or drop us a text on 81111 (UK only). PLEASE PUT YOUR NAMES on those texts though. Nice one.

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "We saw a few flaws in this German side. We thought they were unbeatable in this tournament. But Italy beat England looking very good, and tonight they've got everything spot on. They made Germany change their shape, which they're not used to doing and that cost them."

  38. 2139:  

    It's all over. Italy hang on to record a famous win. Germany raised their game in the second half but it wasn't to be. A superb performance from Italy who now face Spain on Sunday.

  39. 2139:  
    BREAKING NEWS - Italy will play Spain in the Euro 2012 final
  40. 2138:  
    FULL-TIME - Germany 1-2 Italy

    James Kelly on Twitter: "Into German time..."

    Henry Oputa on Twitter: "Too little too late."

  42. 2138:  

    Are we going to have another Sergio Aguero moment?

  43. 2137:  

    Booked for dissent.

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "It's definitely a penalty. It's going to be interesting now isn't it! If Germany do get back into this Italy will kick themselves, the amount of chances they've had in this second-half."

  45. 2136:  
    GOAL - Germany (Mesut Ozil, 90 mins) 1-2 Italy

    Mesut Ozil is cool as you like, sweeping the ball into the corner.

  46. 2135:  

    Could it be? Federico Balzaretti handles the ball and the referee points to the spot.

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "It's just not Germany's night. We've raved about them all tournament but they gone up against a team tonight that tactically, technically, whatever, have just outdone them."

  48. 2134:  

    Manuel Neuer comes up for a Germany corner and Mesut Ozil volleys wide.

    MOTD presenter Gary Lineker:

    "Just asked Jurgen Klinsmann if they have a word in German for 'bogey team.. He said they don't. I think they need to find one."

  50. 2133:  

    What a turn-up for the books then. It just hasn't happened for Germany. Mats Hummels has a sight of goal as we tick over into the last minute but his shot is well blocked again.

  51. 2133:  
    YELLOW CARD FOR ITALY - Thiago Motta
    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "I don't think Italy have a bad player. They've played well all tournament and have some very good players."


    Adam on text: "In Belgium at a rock festival and chose listening to Elbow over trying to find a TV with the game so frantically refreshing the live text!"

    Narek in London on text: "Watching the match with Italian colleagues at a pub in Angel, Islington. Fantastic experience! Good stuff from Italy, brilliantly taken chances by Balotelli."

  54. 2130:  

    Lovely move from Germany as Thomas Mueller flicks the ball inside to Marco Reus - but he is stopped by a stunning block from Federico Balzaretti.

  55. 2128:  

    Into the last five minutes.


    Alex Capp on Twitter: "Italy should have really put this game to bed by now, great defending by Germany."

    Kev Hegarty on Twitter: "Tick tock. ‪Italy‬ moving towards the final. ‪Germany‬ have been poor today."

    Malcolm Harvey on Twitter: "Not only are the Italians beating Germany, they're doing it with olive oil on the bottom of their football boots. Impressive."

  57. 2128:  
    YELLOW CARD FOR ITALY - Daniele De Rossi
  58. 2127:  

    Italy - WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!

    They have yet another clear chance. Antonio Di Natale beats a dubious offside trap, he runs clear in on goal but shoots into the side-netting. He simply has to score. Moments later Federico Balzaretti does have the ball in the net but this time he is offside.

  59. 2123:  

    Toni Kroos has not had a good game - and he fires over from the edge of the box as a loose ball runs out to him. It's now or never for Germany.

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "You've got to give these Italians credit for the shape of the team, their balance and they way they've attacked on the counter. They should have finished this game off. The football they are playing is wonderful and Pirlo is getting space as Germany start to chase everything."

  61. 2121:  

    That extra two days of rest doesn't appear to be doing Germany any favours as we enter the last 15 minutes. It's Italy if anyone who look likely to score. Alessandro Diamanti is the latest to be sent in on goal but he loses his footing.

  62. 2120:  

    Well Italy should have killed this one off. Claudio Marchisio is in on goal again, he has Antonio Di Natale screaming for a square pass in the middle but he shoots wide instead. Horrible finishing.

  63. 2119:  

    Germany's last competitive defeat was in the World Cup semi-final two years ago. Is it going to be last four and out again?

  64. 2117:  

    Manuel Neuer tries to take on Antonio Di Natale and almost gifts the striker a tap-in. Nerves are shot in the German camp which is not something you can say too often.


    James Fincher on Twitter: "Reckon if Germany score one they will wear them down and get another and then win in extra-time."

    Stuart Gunn Wiseman on Twitter: "Not to tempt fate but I just get the feeling the game is beginning to slip away from the Germans now."

    James Ward on Twitter: "More hairbands, grips and clips on that pitch than in a branch of Accessorize..."

  66. 2115:  
    SUBSTITUTION FOR GERMANY - Thomas Mueller on for Jerome Boateng

    Joachim Loew has gone for it.


    Rich Smith on text: "Everyone checking phones for the footy on the 21:04 from Herne Hill. When will they introduce TVs on trains!?"

  68. 2113:  
    SUBSTITUTION FOR ITALY - Antonio Di Natale on for Mario Balotelli

    Balotelli does come off, and what an effort from the Manchester City man. He has put his side on the verge of a final.

  69. 2112:  

    Mario Balotelli hits the deck here, a scare for Italy. But I think it's just cramp. Is this a sign that Mario has put more of a shift in here than normal?

  70. 2111:  

    Chance for Italy! Amost 3-0 and game over as substitute Alessandro Diamanti plays in Claudio Marchisio with a deft pass but the midfielder screws his shot marginally wide.


    Thomas in Covent Garden on text: "Second interval of Berlioz 'Les Troyens' at Royal Opera House. Act Four has just ended, with repeated ominous cries of 'Italy, Italy'..."

    At the end of the opera the Queen of Carthage sees a vision with Rome as an immortal city. Does this bode well for Prandelli's men tonight?

  72. 2109:  

    Italy may have weathered that German storm, the tempo has gone from the play. Germany need to score twice in 25 minutes.

    MOTD's Mark Lawrenson in Warsaw:

    "Lovely free kick from Reus but Buffon read it and flicked it over the bar. Just not quite in the corner. Just needed to be another three or four feet out, didn't it?"

  74. 2107:  
    SUBSTITUTION FOR ITALY - Thiago Motta on for Riccardo Montolivo

    A defensive substitution, as Montolivo had a very good first half. Motta will add some steel.

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "German supporters are not giving up on this one. Superb vocal backing for their team."

  76. 2105:  

    Oh, a great free-kick from substitute Marco Reus, Gigi Buffon turns it on to the crossbar, but it was a great hit. Dipping viciously from 25 yards.

    Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand

    "Germany 0-2 Italy. Totally surprised me. Saying that, if Italy had converted their chances against us it would have been much the same."

    "The Germans are showing some fight here. If they score before 80 mins they could go on and win this."

  78. 2104:  
    YELLOW CARD FOR ITALY - Leonardo Bonucci

    A high challenge on Toni Kroos gives Germany a free-kick in a good area.

  79. 2103:  

    ... and a goal amost does arive, but at the other end. A fabulous turn from Mario Balotelli buys him a yard of space on the corner of the area and he fires in a low shot which flies across the face of goal. Tight.

  80. 2103:  

    Germany are flooding forward in numbers at every opportunity. A goal is surely inevitable...

  81. 2101:  
    SUBSTITUTION FOR ITALY - Alessandro Diamanti on for Antonio Cassano

    An excellent showing from Cassano.

    Former England manager Graham Taylor in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "It has been all Germany. You wonder what was said at half-time. Their tempo and their passing is so much better in this second half. They've come out and got hold of the game. They're playing at a pace that suits them better. They need a goal though, to give themselves real belief."

  83. 2100:  

    Brilliant defending from Leonardo Bonucci denies Germany again. This time it's Miroslav Klose darting into the penalty area but just as he is about to pull the trigger, Bonucci extends a boot to turn it away.


    Will Choi on Twitter: "Why not take Kroos off? He's not done anything and surely at 2-0 down, Loew needs to take risks."

    Dennis Peter on Twitter: "Got to give the Germans some chance here with ‪Reus‬ coming on."

    Seyi Aideyan on Twitter: "Once Italy can survive this early onslaught from Germany, they'll get the job done eventually."

  85. 2058:  

    Brilliant feet from Mesut Ozil, he somehow dances into the area and cuts it back to the front post, but Sami Khedira can't smuggle it in. Germany knocking on the door.

  86. 2055:  

    Italy may have to sit back and hit on the break, but they still carry a threat. Their first counter sees Jerome Boateng make a mess of his defending and Antonio Cassano almost gets on the end of a low cross. How's your nerves?

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "Lahm really has to hit the target from there. But good movement from Germany. They have upped their tempo. This is going to be a good second-half."

  88. 2054:  

    Chance for Germany! Captain Philipp Lahm plays a lovely one-two and gets on the end of it in the area, he leans back on impact though and side-foots his effort over the top. The Germans have stepped it up a notch.

  89. 2051:  

    Great introduction from Marco Reus, skipping past a defender with ease to wander into the box but his low shot is tame. Already carrying a threat though.

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "I'm looking forward to seeing the tempo of this game now. Germany have to respond."


    Daniel Phillips on Twitter: "Germany to bring this back I think. They aren't a weak side who will go down without a fight."

    Akude Emeka O on Twitter: "The Italians are so compact and solid, Germany are up against it now, they need to step it up."

    Aaron Clarke on Twitter: "Re Matthew (2040): Spain can't defend? They haven't let in a goal in knockout football since the 2006 World Cup."

  92. 2049:  

    So two changes at the break for Germany then, but it's Miroslav Klose for Mario Gomez, and not as well as. An early goal will make life interesting.

  93. 2049:  
    KICK-OFF - Germany 0-2 Italy

    Back in play.

  94. 2049:  
    SUBSTITUTIONS FOR GERMANY - Marco Reus and Miroslav Klose on for Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez
    Former England defender Martin Keown in Warsaw:

    "You have to get Mueller and Schurrle on the pitch. Kroos has not been in the game. I am shocked by the arrogance of Germany and Balotelli is on fire, playing the game of his life. Germany cannot cope with him. Italy just need to do more of the same, they look outstanding. Germany have some great personalities and there will be a reaction from them in the second half."

  96. 2047:  

    Only one team has ever won a Euro finals match when they were 2-0 down at half-time. And yeah, obviously it was Germany, they beat Yugoslavia 4-2 in 1976.

    Former Germany manager Jurgen Klinsmann on MOTD:

    "There is no tempo. Bringing in Kroos and Podolski has not worked, there is no movement and Gomez is just static up front. There is no interaction and Italy have done what other teams have not, they have gone at the German defence.

    "Germany have to re-think the whole strategy and make some changes. Marco Reus and Andre Schurrle are warming up. Putting Kroos on Pirlo has not worked. He is still dictating the game.

    "We now need to see the real Germany, to score as soon as possible and they have to step it up if they want to win the championship."

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "Just seen one or two High Fives from members of the Italian media. In a great position but not sure we are in High Five territory just yet."

  99. 2040:  

    Antonio Cassano has had a superb 45 minutes. He is causing Germany all sorts of hassle. Not as much hassle as they are getting from coach Joachim Loew right now though, I bet.


    Matthew Harrison on Twitter: "Incredible that two favourites before the tournament, Germany and Spain, can't defend for toffee."

    K Fresh on Twitter: "It's this time that coaches make their name with spot-on changes in the second-half. Can Loew do it? This is shocker!"

    Chris Marshall on Twitter: "Spain added a striker and were guff, Germany change the midfield and have been guff. Why change for the sake of change?"


    Former Italy international Gianluca Vialli on MOTD: "Pirlo is doing what an American football quarter-back does. He is dropping deep, looking for space and finding the runs of the forwards."

    Former England captain Alan Shearer on MOTD:

    "We mentioned before the game how many options Germany have up front. Well they are going to have one of those options now because their front three are not in the game.

    "We talked before the game how Mario Balotelli did everything right against England without reward but he has done everything right tonight. His performance is sensational. He is bigger, stronger and he is getting the goals. He has added everything we wanted him to add to his game. It is a wonderful performance."

    Former England manager Graham Taylor in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "Balotelli's movement along with Cassano has been very good, but I've still been surprised with the naivety of the German central defenders. They're just allowing things to happen and have lost concentration. I've been surprised with how Italy have played and am very surprised and disappointed with Germany."


    Former Italy international Gianluca Vialli on MOTD: "It has been a fantastic Italian performance so far. I think Loew played us a massive compliment as he has changed the German system to match ours. They are playing four players in a diamond shape in midfield and there is no threat from the Germans on the two flanks."

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "Entertainment all the way here in Warsaw but Italy have got a real grip on this. What have Germany got in response?"

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "Italy have dictated the play. Germany are playing far too slow, allowing Italy to get into their shape and play on the break. Two good goals, and Italy have control of this game. Germany need to up their tempo to get back into this."

  107. 2034:  

    What a half of football. Germany have been below par, but if there is one team in this tournament who I would back to come back from 2-0 down at the break, it's Joachim Loew's boys.

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "Prandelli speaking to Balotelli: 'Please, please Mario don't do anything daft and get a 2nd yellow.' Or something like that."

  109. 2033:  
    HALF-TIME - Germany 0-2 Italy
    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "This is where the German manager has to earn his money. I wouldn't be surprised if he puts Klose on at half-time."

  111. 2031:  

    We are into the last minute of a cracking first half.

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "Mario got that one right off the meat. Germany fine going forward but at the back? Dear oh dear."


    Vikrant Kumar on Twitter: "No goalkeeper in the world can stop that Balotelli bullet."

    Kevin Doyle on Twitter: "Balotelli to get a second yellow and Germany to win 3-2."

    Matthew Lyons on Twitter: "There are more goals in this. Neither side can defend."

  114. 2029:  

    Mario Balotelli is now joint top-scorer at the tournament with three. That booking would worry me if I was an Italy fan though.

  115. 2028:  

    It's been an open first half so far with 13 shots from both teams, with nine on target. We had one shot on target for the whole 90 minutes between Portugal and Spain last night.

  116. 2027:  

    What a spell of football that was. Chance after chance. I don't think Germany are out of this just yet though, they look a menace going forward and have a host of talent on the bench.

    Former England manager Graham Taylor in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "Mario Balotelli? Fantastic player, and a wonderful goal. An excellent finish from him, but some shambolic defending from Germany. This is going to be a hard task now for them to get back into this."

  118. 2026:  
    YELLOW CARD FOR ITALY - Mario Balotelli

    Balotelli was booked for peeling his shirt off after that goal, but honestly, you do not score any better goals than that.

    MOTD's Mark Lawrenson in Warsaw:

    "What a superb finish. It is one ball that beats the Germans, it was so, so simple. Balotelli goes in between the two and then a great finish. Crickey o'reilly, you don't hit them any better than that."

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "That was a fantastic ball to Balotelli. He got it out of his feet and that was a wonderful strike. The two centre-halves were just jogging back. The keeper collapsed to his knees as the ball flew past him into the back of the net."

  121. 2023:  
    GOAL - Germany 0-2 Italy (Mario Balotelli, 36 mins)

    Oh what a goal! What a game! End-to-end stuff, and seconds after Sami Khedira almost scores for Germany, Mario Balotelli delivers a stunning goal. It's one big pass from Riccardo Montolivo that does the damage, sending Balotelli clear of Philipp Lahm but the swerving, dipping finish from 20 yards is absolutely stunning. Pick that one out.

  122. 2022:  

    ...and then Germany go down the other end with Sami Khedira drawing a fine save from Gianluigi Buffon.

  123. 2021:  

    And then Italy instantly have a good chance to double their lead. Again Antonio Cassano is causing grief in the hole and his pass finds Riccardo Montolivo, but he takes too long sorting his feet out and is tackled by Holger Badstuber...

  124. 2020:  

    When Germany counter-attack, they come at you with real pace and they almost find the leveller. Jerome Boateng beats his man down the right and flings in a brilliant cross which is destined for a German shirt at the back post but Federico Balzaretti hooks it clear.

    MOTD presenter Gary Lineker:

    "Was about to tweet that I think we're in for a classic, but that would jinx it so I won't."

  126. 2019:  

    Class from Andrea Pirlo, he pulls out a Zinedine Zidane style drab-back and spin to find some space in midfield. What a player.

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "Italy's Andrea Pirlo has just taken a little whack from Toni Kross and responded with a knowing look and a few words. Think he knows his game - intriguing duel."

  128. 2016:  

    Germany are coming. Mesut Ozil shows great strength to beat two men in midfield and lay it off to Toni Kroos, who picks out a superb pass to find Mario Gomez in the area but the big man is off balance and can't gather it in. This is better from Germany though.


    Max on text: "I can't believe what I'm watching. Apart from the odd niggle, Germany are welcoming Pirlo into the game. Hard to believe, particularly from the Germans. The goal was coming."

    David in Reading on text: "Matt Fallon (2005) doesn't know his onions at all..."

    MOTD's Mark Lawrenson in Warsaw:

    "It's a great ball in by Cassano but it is poor marking for Germany to allow Mario Balotelli of all people, to head it in from six yards or so. He is Super Mario tonight. You normally don't get cheap goals against the Germans, do you?

    "There is no doubt Italy are better in the opposition's half than they are in their own. I like the Italian movement in the Germany half, they have nice appreciation of the pass round the corner. It's really good stuff."

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "Germany had a good spell but Italy responded and Mario Balotelli has given them the lead. Early stages but this match has really got the makings."

  132. 2013:  

    Good on Mario Balotelli by the way. He's had plenty of stick for not celebrating goals, but he gave that one the full treatment. If you can't celebrate a goal in a big semi-final, what can you do? Germany are having a good spell now though, as Mario Gomez holds the ball up nicely to find Mesut Ozil in space, but his low shot lacks power and is easily saved by Gianluigi Buffon.


    Hassan Ali on Twitter: "Badstuber, Hummels and Boateng all inexperienced at international level. Just showed it there."

    Ben Aitkenhead on Twitter: "Oh boy. Mental test time. Italy's DNA will be to hold on for 1-0 win. It won't work against Germany..."

    Akhil Sharma on Twitter: "And we have a game on our hands!"

  134. 2011:  

    Jerome Boateng puts in a first real cross for Mario Gomez to feed on, and he sends his header well wide. Don't forget all those attacking options on the German bench.

  135. 2010:  

    Germany are not used to being behind, but Cesare Prandelli has never lost a competitive game in charge of Italy and will be in no mood to start now. Can Germany respond?

  136. 2009:  

    Neil Taylor (below) knows his onions. Italy needed to score first, and they have. Now then Germany, what have you got in the locker?

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "Defensively Boateng has been suspect all tournament. Putting that cross in was too easy for Cassano. Balotelli just pulls off the back of Badstuber and it's a simple goal for Balotelli and a terrible goal to give away. Let's see how Germany respond to this!"

  138. 2006:  
    GOAL - Germany 0-1 Italy (Mario Balotelli, 20 mins)

    The goal drought is over! It all starts with Andrea Pirlo, who pops a gem of a cross-field pass out to Giorgio Chiellini on the left. He feeds it down the line to Antonio Cassano, who is able to shrug off Mats Hummels far too easily and send over a cross. Mario Balotelli is there to thump a powerful header into the net from close range. Game on.


    Tokunbo on Twitter: "Will Italy concede from a set-piece? Their back four and Buffon look incredibly shaky."

    Neil Taylor on Twitter: "Italy have to score first if Germany aren't to pull them to pieces on the counter..."

    Matt Fallon on Twitter: "Are England really that bad? Italy look like Blackburn tonight!"

  140. 2005:  

    Antonio Cassano has come to life. The forward again collects it in the deep and fires in a wicked effort from 25 yards which has Manuel Neuer worried, but the Bayern Munich keeper is able to make the save to his left. This is a good spell for Italy.

  141. 2004:  

    Lovely move from Italy as they start to come into the game. Antonio Cassano picks the ball up from deep, runs at his man and is able to lay it back to Riccardo Montolivo. Montolivo sends in a low shot which is easily held by Manuel Neuer.

    Graham Taylor in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "This is very interesting really. Germany haven't moved the ball as sharp and quick enough as we expect. When they do they are a threat. But when they drop to a slow game, like Italy, the Italians are better."

  143. 2001:  

    That's two bits of dodgy keeping already from Gianluigi Buffon - surely not a case of big-match nerves from the hugely experienced Juventus man. Germany look dangerous now.

    MOTD's Mark Lawrenson in Warsaw:

    "I can only think that Buffon didn't see that until very, very late. It was a strange save. Plus, he's knocked it straight out."

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "I just think the Germans are playing too slowly. They're showing too much respect. They usually control a game but not at the moment. They need to pick this up."

  146. 2000:  

    So close again! Sami Khedira drives on with a strong run, he lays it out wide to Jerome Boateng who delivers a low cross. Again there is indecision from Gigi Buffon and his defence and Buffon is fortunate to see his fumble go behind for a corner.

    From the corner Toni Kroos crunches in a powerful shot which Buffon turns away. Much better from the Germans.

  147. 1957:  

    Good pressing from Germany though, working in numbers to hunt down goalkeeper Gigi Buffon who has to just kick it out of play. A cagey opening 10 minutes is up.


    Andy Slater on Twitter: "As the match begins an ice cream van plays its tune outside my window - an omen for Italy?"

    Si on Twitter: "Italian through-balls need to be sharper. They can't afford to be wasteful... and that German near-miss explains why."

    Tomirb on Twitter: "Italy could do with 11 Pirlos..."

  149. 1956:  

    Germany have not got their passing game going yet, they are lumping it long on a regular basis.

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "What a chance for Hummels. It just came off his knee! He really should have scored there."

  151. 1954:  

    To completely contradict my earlier entry, Toni Kroos now seems to be playing pretty centrally, right in the shadow of Andrea Pirlo. He could have been tasked with the job of stopping Pirlo playing.

  152. 1952:  

    Oh what a chance for Germany! A corner comes in from the left, Italy's defence just stand and watch as Mats Hummels gets a volley in from close range but Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo combine to scrabble it off the line. Almost 1-0 Germany.

  153. 1950:  

    It's an even start so far. Mario Balotelli almost gets through on to a forward pass at one end for Italy, while Germany are looking to hit Mario Gomez early at the moment.

  154. 1950:  

    So there we go, no (very) early goal and we are now into the longest goal drought in Euros history. Someone have a shot!

    Chris Waddle in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "Italy have got to try to boss the middle of the park, as they did against England. Germany are going to get some joy down the flanks. They've got to attack."

  156. 1948:  

    It looks like Toni Kroos is taking up the same role as Thomas Mueller, just on the right of a front three. So no change in shape for Germany.


    Matthew Byrom on Twitter: "These two national anthems remind me of one thing: Ferrari's Michael Schumacher!

  158. 1947:  
    KICK-OFF - Germany v Italy (19:45 BST)

    Match 30 of Euro 2012 is under way.

  159. 1942:  

    Captains Philipp Lahm and Gigi Buffon are addressing the crowd with messages of respect, and then we will have kick-off.

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport chief football writer, in Warsaw:

    "Warm handshakes and smiles between Buffon and Neuer in the tunnel. Goalkeepers' union. Neuer proved against Chelsea he can take a penalty."

  161. 1941:  

    What an anthem Italy have got. It's an absolute classic and no-one in the tournament has belted theirs out with more gusto than Gianluigi Buffon.

    Former England manager Graham Taylor in Warsaw for BBC Radio 5 live:

    "I don't think Germany will man-mark Pirlo, but he will have more company than he had against England, when he could put the ball where he wanted to. The Germans' play will test Pirlo more. They are quicker, and they will look to bypass Pirlo quicker than England did."

  163. 1939:  

    Howard Webb is fourth official tonight, with Frenchman Stephane Lannoy taking the whistle.


    Andrew AV McPherson on Twitter: "The ability of Italy to pull results out of the bag on the games that count is going to win this."

    Rob Stanbury on Twitter: "Balotelli will be like the postman tonight. He will finally deliver. (Slightly later than expected.)"

    Enoch Wong on Twitter: "My wife has agreed that if Mario Gomez and Mario Balotelli both score tonight we will name our expected baby Mario."

  165. 1939:  

    Mario Balotelli needs to work harder to give him less time to mess about then - quality idea from Vialli. In the tunnel Balotelli seems to be mocking former Manchester City team-mate Jerome Boateng's hairdo. You'll never stop Balotelli from doing his own thing. He's a maverick.


    Former Italy international Gianluca Vialli on MOTD: "I don't want to judge Balotelli for his off-pitch activities. As a player he could be one of the best centre forwards, as long as he combines his skill with a physical attitude. Sometimes he is lazy. He needs to work harder. If he does that there is less time to do something stupid.

    "But we shouldn't be too demanding. In Italy, we are a bit harsh on Balotelli because we forget he is only 21. We want him to be mature but he is still young and learning. Our two strikers are not always regulars for their clubs, so they need to improve and score more goals."

    Former Germany manager Jurgen Klinsmann on MOTD:

    "On one side Germany, will focus on their own game, but they will also be focusing on Pirlo, as well as De Rossi and Montolivo, who can play the clever balls and create problems. If they are prepared for that, then they have the creativity and movement off the ball to go forward. I am expecting an open game.

    "I could imagine Matt Hummels picking on and provoking Mario Balotelli. If he is at Manchester City next season, it puts the management under pressure because you need to guide this kid."

  168. 1932:  

    There are less than 15 minutes to go until kick-off. Get the kettle on and get ready for this one - let's hope it's a cracker.


    Former Italy international Gianluca Vialli on MOTD: "I think it is important the team you pick to start with but you have to have options. Germany can change the whole front three and be as effective.

    "Italy's Andrea Pirlo is as cool as a cucumber. He never gets over-excited. He is very influential. He is as influential as Xavi for Spain. He is a great playmaker. The defenders are always looking for Pirlo. When he looks up he always sees the movement of the striker. If I was Balotelli I would be disappointed that I hadn't scored more goals."


    Chris Marsh on Twitter: "You know what they say: keep your friends close but Miroslav Klose."

    Ronald John on Twitter: "I think Germany will be too powerful for Italy to handle, especially their attacking options."

    Dan Tracey on Twitter: "Unless Italy can go in front then I can't see the Germans being stopped tonight."

  171. 1926:  

    Mario Gomez is a bit of an enigma to me still. I've seen him miss so many easy-looking chances for Germany and for Bayern Munich, but you cannot argue with his numbers. The man scores goals.

    All three of his goals so far in this tournament have been taken superbly. Let's see if he can knock a few in tonight.

    Former Germany manager Jurgen Klinsmann on MOTD:

    "In order to win the German players will have to suffer and I hope they have the willingness to suffer. They have to show the character and one player will have to step up and make a difference. Mario Gomez is a pure number nine, a box player and a finisher. He doesn't move for the team, doesn't chase players, but if you give him the ball in the box, he will score for you."

    Andy Murray, who won today at Wimbledon, on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "I like watching Spain play. They're a great team. I picked a Spain v Germany final and I think Germany are going to win. They're looking really good.

    "My favourite player is Cesc Fabregas. I follow Arsenal and I enjoy watching him play. In my fantasy football team I've got Mario Gomez. I was a bit annoyed when he missed out against Greece - that could have been a goal fest for him! I've also got Di Natale in my team, so I'd rather he was playing ahead of Balotelli."

  174. 1918:  

    Two entries from Gianluca Vialli and not one mention of the word 'chaps.' I have to say I'm disappointed.

    It's interesting that Vialli thinks Italy have approached this game in a cocky fashion. Let's see how they start the game.


    Former Italy international Gianluca Vialli on MOTD: "We don't particularly like this competition. We tend to focus on the World Cup. We normally give our best when we are the underdogs. We go on to the pitch with the attitude of showing we are the best team. In the last few days we have been cocky in the build-up to this game and I'm not sure that is the right attitude. It is not very Italian."

  176. 1917:  

    Can someone please give Jurgen Klinsmann a job at the FA?

    Former Germany manager Jurgen Klinsmann on MOTD:

    "Before the World Cup in 2006, we tried to build an identity not just for the team, but for the people as well. We sat down, had workshops and decided we wanted to play aggressive, high paced football and it meant a lot of hard work.

    "If you want to play at a high tempo, you need to be fit. You need to be ready for set-backs, getting hammered by the media and that is the same in England and Germany. You need to be patient and go through difficult moments. You need to empower the players, giving them a sense of accountability and responsibility. The German players now have to pay back the power given to them."

    Former Germany manager Jurgen Klinsmann on MOTD:

    "Italy don't have any fear when they play Germany. They stick to the game plan and they will be confident tonight and will give Germany a big problem. I am surprised they have brought Toni Kroos in instead of Thomas Mueller.

    "Kroos may be the fresher player and could be asked to run down Pirlo. Everything has worked out for Joachim Loew so far and he will be to blame if it does not."

  179. 1911:  

    So there's the answer to getting England playing football - ship Andrea Pirlo in.


    Former Italy international Gianluca Vialli on MOTD: "I think it has been an excellent tournament so far. It has had great sportsmanship from the players. Possibly not enough goals but some excellent games. And the referees are keeping yellow cards in their pockets.

    "Italian football doesn't always make me proud. Part of me is still very sad and angry with the match-fixing scandal. But Italy are by far the surprise of the tournament. The way we did it is with very good football. We are always solid at the back but we are playing good football. That is because of tactics but also because we have the most influential player in Andrea Pirlo. Put Pirlo in the England side and they would start playing football.

    "This is a different German side from the past. We loved playing Germany because they are like tanks, they come forward all the time but were a bit predictable. This side is different. It is multicultural and plays modern football. The system is modern. They are so skilful and always go forward."


    Martin in Fleet on text: "Whoever wins tonight I fancy them to beat Spain. And whilst I would never bet against Germany, I fancy the Italians to do enough."

    Mich on text: "Pirlo and Italy will struggle tonight. Schweinsteiger and Khedira won't give him the acres of space England allowed him to have."

    Former England captain Alan Shearer on MOTD:

    "I have been really impressed by both teams. Germany have scored the most goals and Italy came into the tournament under perssure, and they have defended and played well.

    "Pirlo was given the freedom of Kiev against England and will not be given that tonight. The Germans have been given two extra days off from the Italians and that could tell."


    Angus McPhail on Twitter: "Interesting selection from the Germans, should be a good game, Mario Gotze should have got the start though!"

    Ror Furbolg on Twitter: "Can't look beyond Germany tonight. Other than Pirlo, Italy have no players capable of magic."

    Simon G on Twitter: "Expecting a fairly comfortable win for Germany. Can't see Italy scoring! 2-0 is the only score I can see really..."

  184. 1907:  
    LINE-UPS - Germany v Italy (19:45 BST)

    Germany: Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Kroos, Ozil, Podolski, Gomez. Subs: Wiese, Gundogan, Schmelzer, Howedes, Schurrle, Klose, Mueller, Bender, Mertesacker, Gotze, Reus, Zieler.

    Italy: Buffon, Balzaretti, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo, De Rossi, Balotelli, Cassano. Subs: Sirigu, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Abate, Di Natale, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

    Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)

  185. 1906:  

    Four years ago, Germany were in the semi-finals and did deliver a goal-fest - as they picked up a 3-2 win over Turkey. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm and Miroslav Klose all netted.

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "Lots of talk pre-match about how Germany will deal with Italy's midfield orchestrator Andrea Pirlo. No-one seems to think they will allow him the time and space he got against England."

  187. 1901:  

    Montage time.

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport chief football writer in Warsaw:

    "Donetsk's Donbass Arena was superb but Warsaw's national stadium runs it close. Bit further away from action though."


    James Ward on Twitter: "What does Mario Gotze have to do to get a game in the national team? a class above Reus, Mueller, Kroos and Schurrle. Unjustified."

    Adam J on Twitter: "If the Germans get too busy thinking about revenge for '08 and '10 on Sunday they may find themselves beaten by this Italian side."

    Neil Allen on Twitter: "Easy to get carried away with Italy after their domination of awful England. Germany to win at a canter tonight."

  190. 1857:  

    Match of the Day starts in five minutes, and we have a German voice (Jurgen Klinsmann), an Italian voice (Gianluca Vialli) and an English voice (Alan Shearer) all joining Gary Lineker in the stadium. You can't say fairer than that.

  191. 1853:  
    Germany v Italy (19:45 BST)

    Germany reinstate two of their regular front three with Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski returning in place of Andre Schurrle and Miroslav Klose. Fellow forward Marco Reus also drops out of the starting XI, but not for Thomas Mueller as expected. Joachim Loew has instead opted to give Toni Kroos his first start of the tournament. The rest of the German team is the same as the one that beat Greece 4-2 in the last eight.

    Italy welcome back defender Giorgio Chiellini from injury and he replaces Ignazio Abate, who picked up a knock in the quarter-final game against England. Daniele De Rossi was also an injury doubt but is fit to start. Antonio Cassano and Mario Balotelli continue up front.

  192. 1851:  

    Arsene Wenger - and all you Arsenal fans out there - will be taking a keen interest in Lukas Podolski's performance tonight.

    MOTD presenter Gary Lineker:

    "Just had a brief chat with Arsene Wenger. Seems in fine form. Sense he's quietly confident about next season..."

  194. 1849:  

    Italy will be pleased to see Giorgio Chiellini back in their defence. He could be shunted over from his usual spot in the middle over to left-back tonight though as Cesare Prandelli shuffles his backline.

  195. 1842:  

    So there we go then, the 'tinkerman' Joachim Loew strikes again. We were all focusing on who would get the nod up front but none of us saw Toni Kroos coming in to the midfield.

    I wonder if that is a ploy to stop Andrea Pirlo? It could see Mesut Ozil pushed further forward as well.

  196. 1841:  
    BREAKING TEAM NEWS - Germany v Italy (19:45 BST)

    Germany coach Joachim Loew does change his side around, as Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski return up front and Toni Kroos comes into midfield. There is no place for Miroslav Klose or Marco Reus.

    Mario Balotelli keeps his place up front for Italy, with Giorgio Chiellini returning from injury.


    Ginoginelli on text: "I seem to remember comments like these before the Italy-England game. Apparently we weren't worth playing because England were already planning a semi versus Germany! Oh well, let's hope for a similar outcome, but without penalties. And then can we compare the number of stars on our shirts? Oh yes, we have four, one more than Germany and more than England and Spain put together! Italy to win."

    Anthony on text: "People always write us off but I think we can beat Germany tonight. Same story in 2006, look what happened. Forza Italia."

    Ukraine's Euro 2012 tournament director Markian Lubkivsky on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "I think Euro 2012 was a unique chance for Ukraine to present itself. I'm really happy that all things relating to football and to the organisation of this sports event were achieved.

    "Sol Campbell should come to Ukraine. I invite him and I will be his guide and I will show him Ukraine.

    "I represent Uefa but I am a citizen of this country and I am proud of this country. I fight for this tournament."

  199. 1830:  

    Mesut Ozil could be a key player for Germany tonight. He has been singled out as possibly the man to stop Andrea Piro dictating the play, but the Real Madrid man aims to offer an attacking threat as well.

    "I will demonstrate in the game against Italy that I can put my foot on the pedal," he said.

    If only German players and the coach were more confident in their outlook eh? They could go far...

  200. 1825:  

    The good news for those of you who share my hope for goals tonight is that Italian coach Cesare Prandelli has promised not to be defensive.

    He said: "We cannot sit deep against Germany.

    "Germany will press us high up the pitch. We are ready for this.

    "We know where they are good, we think we know how they will line up and that they might make changes."


    Charles Egar on Twitter: "Germany, unlike Spain, create a lot of chances and score a lot of goals. Germany to win by 2-0.‪"

    Matt Lloyd on Twitter: "Italy only have themselves to blame for having to put so much energy in against England, should have wrapped it up much sooner."

    Edward Roberts on Twitter: "Lahm's opinions smack of hubris. Come on Italy..."

  202. 1822:  

    Last night there was a strong feeling from the texts and Tweets coming in that Portugal stood a good chance of beating Spain - and they came pretty close.

    I'm not getting the same backing for Italy tonight so far. Is this a foregone conclusion?

    Phil McNulty, BBC Sport chief football writer in Wasraw:

    "Just had a glance at the giant screen at Warsaw's national stadium and the first face we see? Italy's Andrea Pirlo. Everywhere."

  204. 1818:  

    That octopus has got a lot to answer for hasn't it?

    You may remember 'Paul the octopus' from the 2010 World Cup who predicted all of Germany's results correctly? Well now every poor animal in western Europe seems to be dragged out biennially to cast their vote.

    The latest is a Polar bear called Antonia in Gelsenkirchen zoo, who plumped for Italy to win tonight. Where's the patriotism Antonia?

    Former England international Tony Woodcock, who played in Germany, on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "There's tremendous optimism in Germany. There's talk of 25,000 German supporters in the stadium tonight. They're very confident because the team is playing well. They're expecting a win.

    "Bastian Schweinsteiger is a talisman and a leader. But if he hadn't been passed fit they've got a real strength in depth in the squad.

    "Everyone is on fire and they're going to be well supported."

  206. 1812:  

    We should have team news for you within the next half hour or so, when we will discover which of Germany's forwards have been given the night off.


    Chris Williams on Twitter: "I think Reus deserves to start tonight, his performance against the Greeks was outstanding. Gomez back in for Klose though."

    Andy Smith on Twitter: "Everyone is saying a Germany win tonight. I don't know - I fancy Italy to be dangerous!"

    Ben Vokes on Twitter: "Tonight, for his next trick, Mario Gomez will win the Golden Boot."

  208. 1805:  

    Germany captain Philipp Lahm was asked about Italy's performance against England earlier this week, and he said it how it is: "It should never have reached penalties, the Italians only had themselves to blame for allowing the game to reach that point.

    "They were very wasteful in front of goal. If that had been Germany, we would have put England out of their misery during the 90 minutes."

    Sometimes, the truth hurts. Anyone else a bit glad England didn't get through now?

    Ukraine's Euro 2012 tournament director Markian Lubkivsky on BBC Radio 5 live:

    "You'll remember that coverage of Ukraine before the tournament was a lot of horror stories, a lot of rumours which had nothing to do with the reality. Racism cannot be associated with only Ukraine. Fans are happy with the Ukraine and the tournament, and everybody has got involved in this big football festival."

  210. 1758:  

    That extra two-day rest could be contentious.

    Germany played ther quarter-final against Greece last Friday, and they strolled to a win without getting out of third gear.

    Italy played England on Sunday, and had to go the full 120 minutes. Is that fair?

    Ian Dennis, BBC Radio 5 live football reporter in Warsaw:

    "Uefa have to have a long, hard look at themselves about the scheduling of this semi-final. How can Germany have an extra 48 hours rest going into such a major game?

    "Germany have a huge advantage, though they have an awful record against Italy in competitive football."


    Dan on text: "Re Tim G (1724): How can it be the right decision? Gomez has three goals in the tournament already, he's a world-class striker and streets ahead of the ageing Klose."

  213. 1744:  

    Italy midfielder Riccardo Montolivo had a good game against England - apart from missing in the penalty shoot-out - but he will have divided loyalties tonight.

    He has a German mother, who met his Italian father at college in Kent. That explains the penalty miss.

    Montolivo speaks German and has a German passport. He has the German flag on one boot and the Italian one on the other.

    Make your mind up Riccardo...


    Garad Yusuf on Twitter: "Germany to win comfortably 2-0 goals from Gomez and Mueller."

    Drew Crawford on Twitter: "Gomez and Balotelli to battle it out for the crown of super Mario tonight."

    Kern Harrington on Twitter: "Can only see that well-oiled German machine in the final. They've been devastating, and Balotelli is overdue a sending off."

    Ian Dennis, BBC Radio 5 live football reporter in Warsaw:

    "Germany's form is quite ominous, so I can't see much further than a German victory. They're looking for a 16th consecutive competitive victory, extending their record-breaking run. For me, it's all about Germany.

    "From a neutral's point of view that will be the best possible final in Kiev on Sunday: Germany versus Spain."

  216. 1735:  

    Italy are not short of decent players either of course.

    Andrea Pirlo was just brilliant against England, but he may not have as much time on the ball tonight with Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger nipping at his heels.

    Claudio Marchisio and Antonio Cassano have also impressed during the tournament, and then there's Mario Balotelli. He could do anything...

  217. 1729:  

    Stand-ins Miroslav Klose, Andre Schurrle and Marco Reus were all on the money against the Greeks, with Klose netting his 17th goal in a major tournament. Just ridiculous.

    Tim G reckons Klose and Reus will keep their places, and who are we to argue? Joachim Loew is not short of attacking options. Can Italy keep them out?


    Tim G on Twitter: "Reports that Klose and Reus will start ahead of Mueller and Gomez. I think that's the right decision from Loew."

  219. 1724:  

    Germany coach Joachim Loew took the extraordinary step of resting forwards Thomas Mueller, Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski for the quarter-final against Greece - and was utterly vindicated as his side crushed Greece 4-2.

    So Mueller, Gomez and Podolski have had 10 days off. They will be fit and raring to go - if they can get back in the team...


    Vasanthakumar on Twitter: "Two contrasting yet quality teams. Both capable of beating Spain. One with attacking flair and other with solid defence."

  221. 1720:  

    The stats may show that Germany have won their last 15 competitive games - an all-time record in their history - but the Azzurri are unbeaten in their last five games against Germany, winning three times and drawing twice.

    Penalties again?

    BBC Sport chief football writer Phil McNulty in Warsaw:

    "Empty seats at the Donbass last night but plenty of Germany and Italy fans outside Warsaw's National Stadium asking if tickets available."

  223. 1714:  

    These two have recent history in major finals, with Italy playing the role of party poopers to perfection in Dortmund in 2006, knocking Jurgen Klinsmann's side out of their own World Cup at the semi-final stage.

    Worryingly, that one went to extra-time after being goalless at 90 minutes as well, before Fabio Grosso and Alessandro del Piero struck late on to send Italy through.

    Let's hope we don't have a repeat tonight. We want goals before the end of 90 minutes please lads, OK?

    MOTD presenter Gary Lineker:

    "We have a front three to match any in the studio tonight. Alan Shearer, Jurgen Klinsmann and Gianluca Vialli join me for Italy v Germany. BBC One at seven o'clock."

  225. 1712:  

    That's the spirit Dale...


    Dale in Heanor on text: "After the goalless matches we've seen I think this one will explode. 3-2 to Germany to end their big-tournament hoodoo with Italy."

  227. 1709:  

    So will it be a repeat of the 2008 final with Germany joining Spain in Kiev on Sunday? Or can the peerless Andrea Pirlo ping Italy to a famous win? Let us know your predictions, who you think will make the difference and just about anything else you want to get off your chest. Fire over a Tweet using the hashtag #bbcfootball, or drop us a text on 81111 (UK only). PLEASE PUT YOUR NAMES on those texts though. Nice one.

  228. 1704:  

    We've had 240 minutes of goalless 'action' to sit through since Xabi Alonso's second against France last Saturday - and even that was a penalty.

    If we don't have a goal in the first three minutes of action this evening, then we will have sat through the longest goal drought in European Championship finals history.

    Italy were not exactly clinical against England so let's hope Germany have brought their collective shooting boots tonight...

  229. 1700:  

    And then there were three.

    Twenty days after Euro 2012 kicked off in a whirl of red cards, fanfare and unpronouncable names, defending champions Spain have booked their place in Sunday's final and will face either Germany or Italy.

    Two real heavyweights of European football go toe-to-toe in Warsaw tonight, and hopefully we'll see a few punches landed in the form of goals.

    Goals - remember them?

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Euro 2012 results & tables

Euro 2012 group matches

Results, fixtures and group tables from Euro 2012

Euro 2012 - focus on Germany

Mario Balotelli Germany 1-2 Italy

Mario Balotelli scores two superb goals as Italy shock Germany to book a Euro 2012 final showdown with Spain in Kiev.

Euro 2012 - focus on Italy

Italy forward Mario Balotelli Balotelli among 'great champions'

Mario Balotelli is flourishing at Euro 2012 because he is surrounded by "great champions", says Italy coach Cesare Prandelli.