Mario Balotelli secured Italy a place in the Euro 2012 final against Spain as his goals downed Germany in Warsaw.

Manchester City's enigmatic striker provided Italy with the cutting edge and two first-half goals as Joachim Loew's Germany failed to produce the impressive form that had seen them touted as potential tournament winners.

Analysis

"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."

Balotelli put Italy on the way when he directed Antonio Cassano's cross past Germany keeper Manuel Neuer then added a thunderous second from Riccardo Montolivo's pass.

Mesut Ozil's injury-time penalty provided the briefest anxiety for Italy, whose victory was confirmed moments later, and Balotelli fell into the warm embrace of his mother as he made his way down the tunnel.

The 21-year-old limped off with cramp late on - but his work was done and Italy can now look forward to a meeting with world and European champions Spain in Kiev on Sunday.

Italy's victory maintained their stranglehold on Germany - they are undefeated in eight competitive encounters that take in five matches at the World Cup and three in the European Championship.

And the scale of Italy's achievement is the greater for the fact that Germany had an additional 48 hours to prepare while Cesare Prandelli's side were going through after extra-time and penalties against England.

Balotelli, along with the pass master Andrea Pirlo, was the inspiration but Italy's defenders and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon provided defiance and quality as Germany threatened in the first half then attempted to mount a recovery after the break.

Germany coach Loew responded to Pirlo's master class against England by detailing the recalled Toni Kroos to monitor the veteran. The ploy was not a success.

Buffon and his German counterpart Neuer had greeted each other warmly in the tunnel before kick-off in a prelude to a busy first 45 minutes for the pair.

Analysis

"For a man who often plays in a state of chaos, Balotelli was cold and measured as he joined his colleagues in terrorising Germany's defence."

Buffon was grateful Pirlo was well placed to clear Mats Hummels' effort off the line and also needed to be alert to deal with Jerome Boateng's dangerous cross, which almost deflected in off Andrea Barzagli, as well as a shot from Kroos.

Italy edged their way into the game as Neuer saved from Montolivo and they capitalised on the spell of pressure when Balotelli headed them in front after 20 minutes. Cassano was the creator as he escaped Hummels and crossed perfectly for Balotelli, who lost Holger Badstuber to head past Neuer.

Germany's slack defending was in sharp contrast to their attacking and Buffon was again called into action to save from Ozil and Sami Khedira before Balotelli provided another demonstration of the talent that makes him such a compelling footballer and personality.

Montolivo's pass exposed Germany, leaving Balotelli to take a touch before drilling a magnificent finish high past the helpless Neuer - although by stripping off his shirt in celebration he received a needless booking from French referee Stephane Lannoy.

Gomez v Balotelli

Germany required emergency action and Loew took it at the start of the second half when he replaced the anonymous Lukas Podolski - watched by his new club manager at Arsenal Arsene Wenger - and Mario Gomez with Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus.

A German response was to be expected and captain Philipp Lahm almost provided it, only to waste a presentable opportunity by firing off target - bringing a reaction from Prandelli as he removed Cassano and sent on Alessandro Diamanti.

Reus almost provided what Loew was looking for just after the hour but once again Buffon showed great athleticism to turn his free-kick on to the bar.

Claudio Marchisio was guilty of squandering the chance to wrap things up for Italy before Balotelli's night ended prematurely with 20 minutes left, making way for Antonio di Natale.

Another spell of slick passing, inevitably, involving Pirlo, played Marchisio in again but he flashed a low, angled effort beyond Neuer but also the far post.

Germany, backed by magnificent vocal support, thought they had a late lifeline when Ozil scored from the spot after Federico Balzaretti's handball - but nothing could stop Italy and Balotelli's night of triumph.

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (6)

Germany

  • 01 Neuer
  • 05 Hummels Booked
  • 14 Badstuber
  • 16 Lahm
  • 20 Boateng (Mueller - 71' )
  • 06 Khedira
  • 07 Schweinsteiger
  • 08 Ozil
  • 18 Kroos
  • 10 Podolski (Reus - 46' )
  • 23 Gomez (Klose - 46' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Wiese
  • 22 Zieler
  • 03 Schmelzer
  • 04 Howedes
  • 17 Mertesacker
  • 02 Gundogan
  • 09 Schurrle
  • 13 Mueller
  • 15 Bender
  • 19 Gotze
  • 21 Reus
  • 11 Klose

Italy

  • 01 Buffon
  • 03 Chiellini
  • 06 Balzaretti
  • 15 Barzagli
  • 19 Bonucci Booked
  • 08 Marchisio
  • 16 De Rossi Booked
  • 18 Montolivo (Motta - 63' Booked )
  • 21 Pirlo
  • 09 Balotelli Booked (Di Natale - 69' )
  • 10 Cassano (Diamanti - 58' )

Substitutes

  • 12 Sirigu
  • 14 De Sanctis
  • 04 Ogbonna
  • 07 Abate
  • 05 Motta
  • 13 Giaccherini
  • 22 Diamanti
  • 23 Nocerino
  • 11 Di Natale
  • 17 Borini
  • 20 Giovinco
Ref: S Lannoy
Att: 58,500

Match Stats

Shots

17 11

On target

8 5

Corners

14 0

Fouls

12 17

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:50 Full time

Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.

90:00 +4:01

Unfair challenge on Bastian Schweinsteiger by Daniele De Rossi results in a free kick. Toni Kroos restarts play with the free kick.

90:00 +3:04

Direct free kick taken by Gianluigi Buffon.

90:00 +3:04 Booking

Booking Mats Hummels goes into the book.

90:00 +2:58

Foul by Mats Hummels on Andrea Barzagli, free kick awarded.

90:00 +1:37 Goal scored

Goal! - Mesut Ozil - Germany 1 - 2 Italy Placed penalty scored by Mesut Ozil. Germany 1-2 Italy.

90:00 +0:59

Handball by Federico Balzaretti.

90:00 +0:29

The ball is swung over by Bastian Schweinsteiger, clearance made by Federico Balzaretti.

89:27

Corner taken by Bastian Schweinsteiger. Mesut Ozil has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.

89:11

Mats Hummels takes a shot. Save made by Gianluigi Buffon.

88:59

The ball is sent over by Philip Lahm.

88:30

Free kick taken by Bastian Schweinsteiger.

88:30 Booking

Booking Caution for Santos Thiago Motta.

88:25

Santos Thiago Motta concedes a free kick for a foul on Bastian Schweinsteiger.

87:21

A cross is delivered by Thomas Muller, comfortable save by Gianluigi Buffon.

86:27

Bastian Schweinsteiger challenges Andrea Pirlo unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Andrea Pirlo.

86:02

The ball is crossed by Toni Kroos, Andrea Barzagli manages to make a clearance.

85:25

Effort on goal by Toni Kroos from just inside the area clears the crossbar.

84:56

Short corner worked by Bastian Schweinsteiger.

84:17

Corner taken by Toni Kroos from the left by-line, save made by Gianluigi Buffon.

83:46

Outswinging corner taken by Bastian Schweinsteiger, Federico Balzaretti manages to make a clearance.

83:19

Free kick taken by Bastian Schweinsteiger.

83:19 Booking

Booking Daniele De Rossi receives a caution.

83:15

Free kick awarded for a foul by Daniele De Rossi on Bastian Schweinsteiger.

82:53

Shot by Philip Lahm. Save made by Gianluigi Buffon.

82:34

Short corner worked by Toni Kroos.

82:08

Federico Balzaretti is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Manuel Neuer.

81:47

Antonio Di Natale produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal.

81:01

Federico Balzaretti gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mesut Ozil. Mesut Ozil takes the direct free kick.

80:40

Alessandro Diamanti produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.

79:20

Toni Kroos has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.

78:30

Daniele De Rossi crosses the ball, save by Manuel Neuer.

77:36

Miroslav Klose fouled by Andrea Barzagli, the ref awards a free kick. Sami Khedira takes the direct free kick.

76:26

Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Mesut Ozil, Header from deep inside the penalty area by Mats Hummels goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

74:48

Shot by Claudio Marchisio from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.

73:44

Philip Lahm sends in a cross, clearance made by Claudio Marchisio.

73:39

Bastian Schweinsteiger produces a cross.

71:48

Toni Kroos challenges Santos Thiago Motta unfairly and gives away a free kick. Andrea Pirlo restarts play with the free kick.

70:43 Substitution

Substitution Thomas Muller is brought on as a substitute for Jerome Boateng.

68:55 Substitution

Substitution Antonio Di Natale joins the action as a substitute, replacing Mario Balotelli.

66:45

Claudio Marchisio has an effort at goal from the edge of the area that misses to the right of the target.

65:20

Alessandro Diamanti takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save made by Manuel Neuer.

64:38

Foul by Alessandro Diamanti on Holger Badstuber, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Philip Lahm.

62:30 Substitution

Substitution Riccardo Montolivo leaves the field to be replaced by Santos Thiago Motta.

61:54

Claudio Marchisio fouled by Mesut Ozil, the ref awards a free kick. Andrea Pirlo takes the direct free kick.

61:49

The ball is crossed by Jerome Boateng.

61:29

Corner taken right-footed by Toni Kroos.

60:02

Marco Reus fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, save by Gianluigi Buffon.

60:02 Booking

Booking Leonardo Bonucci is given a yellow card.

59:52

Unfair challenge on Toni Kroos by Leonardo Bonucci results in a free kick.

59:12

Mario Balotelli produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.

58:11

Jerome Boateng delivers the ball.

57:39

The ball is crossed by Jerome Boateng, Headed effort from inside the area by Miroslav Klose misses to the left of the goal.

57:08 Substitution

Substitution Alessandro Diamanti replaces Antonio Cassano.

56:03

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Toni Kroos from the left by-line, Claudio Marchisio makes a clearance.

54:22

The ball is swung over by Mesut Ozil, blocked by Giorgio Chiellini.

51:41

Antonio Cassano delivers the ball.

51:14

Bastian Schweinsteiger is adjudged to have handled the ball. Indirect free kick taken by Andrea Pirlo.

50:59

A cross is delivered by Jerome Boateng, Giorgio Chiellini gets a block in.

48:56

Effort on goal by Philip Lahm from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.

48:26

Giorgio Chiellini concedes a free kick for a foul on Marco Reus. Free kick taken by Bastian Schweinsteiger.

47:15

Marco Reus takes a shot. Save made by Gianluigi Buffon.

46:10

Holger Badstuber takes the free kick. Free kick awarded for a foul by Mario Balotelli on Philip Lahm.

45:33

Toni Kroos challenges Andrea Pirlo unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Andrea Pirlo.

45:01

The referee gets the second half underway.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Miroslav Klose comes on in place of Mario Gomez.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Lukas Podolski leaves the field to be replaced by Marco Reus.

45:00 +1:09 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

45:00 +0:53

The ball is crossed by Toni Kroos, Giorgio Chiellini makes a clearance.

45:00 +0:26

Inswinging corner taken by Toni Kroos, Claudio Marchisio manages to make a clearance.

45:00 +0:09

A cross is delivered by Lukas Podolski, Federico Balzaretti gets a block in.

44:32

Centre by Philip Lahm, save by Gianluigi Buffon.

37:48

A cross is delivered by Lukas Podolski.

36:55

Mats Hummels fouled by Antonio Cassano, the ref awards a free kick. Mats Hummels takes the free kick.

36:55 Booking

Booking Mario Balotelli booked.

35:35

The assist for the goal came from Riccardo Montolivo.

35:35 Goal scored

Goal! - Mario Balotelli - Germany 0 - 2 Italy Mario Balotelli fires in a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the top right corner of the goal. Germany 0-2 Italy.

34:48

Effort from 30 yards by Sami Khedira. Save by Gianluigi Buffon. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Toni Kroos, save made by Gianluigi Buffon.

33:21

Toni Kroos takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Claudio Marchisio. Mario Balotelli fouled by Lukas Podolski, the ref awards a free kick. Federico Balzaretti takes the direct free kick.

33:02

Jerome Boateng crosses the ball, Federico Balzaretti makes a clearance.

31:37

Holger Badstuber gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mario Balotelli. Free kick taken by Andrea Pirlo.

30:24

Unfair challenge on Mario Balotelli by Jerome Boateng results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Daniele De Rossi. Sami Khedira fouled by Riccardo Montolivo, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Bastian Schweinsteiger.

29:33

Effort from outside the penalty box by Toni Kroos goes wide right of the goal.

28:13

Riccardo Montolivo concedes a free kick for a foul on Jerome Boateng. Jerome Boateng takes the direct free kick.

27:52

Toni Kroos gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrea Pirlo. Direct free kick taken by Claudio Marchisio.

26:49

Unfair challenge on Holger Badstuber by Mario Balotelli results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Mats Hummels.

26:26

Mesut Ozil takes a shot. Save by Gianluigi Buffon.

25:27

Jerome Boateng crosses the ball, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Mario Gomez misses to the left of the goal.

24:01

Jerome Boateng sends in a cross, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Mario Gomez misses to the left of the goal.

23:23

Free kick awarded for a foul by Riccardo Montolivo on Toni Kroos. Holger Badstuber takes the direct free kick.

21:46

Foul by Claudio Marchisio on Bastian Schweinsteiger, free kick awarded. Holger Badstuber takes the direct free kick.

21:33

The ball is sent over by Lukas Podolski.

20:56

Free kick awarded for a foul by Riccardo Montolivo on Toni Kroos. Bastian Schweinsteiger takes the free kick.

19:25

Antonio Cassano provided the assist for the goal.

19:25 Goal scored

Goal! - Mario Balotelli - Germany 0 - 1 Italy Mario Balotelli finds the net with a headed goal from close range. Germany 0-1 Italy.

19:23

Antonio Cassano delivers the ball,

18:00

Antonio Cassano takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save by Manuel Neuer.

17:45

The ball is swung over by Riccardo Montolivo, Holger Badstuber manages to make a clearance.

16:58

Riccardo Montolivo takes a shot. Save made by Manuel Neuer.

13:40

Mario Balotelli fouled by Mats Hummels, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Andrea Pirlo.

11:59

Jerome Boateng produces a cross, save by Gianluigi Buffon. Short corner worked by Mesut Ozil. Toni Kroos takes a shot. Gianluigi Buffon makes a save.

10:49

Unfair challenge on Leonardo Bonucci by Mario Gomez results in a free kick. Leonardo Bonucci takes the direct free kick.

10:16

Sami Khedira sends in a cross, save made by Gianluigi Buffon.

8:48

Andrea Pirlo takes a shot. Holger Badstuber gets a block in.

7:38

Daniele De Rossi fouled by Lukas Podolski, the ref awards a free kick. Andrea Pirlo takes the direct free kick.

5:42

Centre by Sami Khedira, Giorgio Chiellini gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Mesut Ozil from the right by-line.

4:29

Corner taken right-footed by Toni Kroos from the left by-line, Mats Hummels takes a shot. Save by Gianluigi Buffon.

1:35

Unfair challenge on Holger Badstuber by Mario Balotelli results in a free kick. Manuel Neuer restarts play with the free kick.

1:31

Philip Lahm delivers the ball.

0:00

The match has kicked off.

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