Story by Robin Popley
For Germany, all that prevented them from a deserved place in the European Championship Final were the 4-time World Champions, Italy. Although a bogey team for the Germans throughout history, the fluidity they have shown throughout this tournament, should have been enough for them to overcome this stumbling block. Nevertheless, Joachim Loaw and his troops could not have forseen the excellence that is ‘Super’ Mario BALOTELLI!!!
His first came after a brilliant cross from the ever increasingly impressive Cassano. Thumping the ball past Manuel Neuer via his head, Balotelli, to the delight of his team mates, had given them the surprise early lead, enhancing Italy’s chances of progressing to Sunday’s showcase final. This looked an even bigger certainty when the controversial Manchester City striker latched onto the through ball from Riccardo Montolivo. With time and precision, he smashed (say that in a Dean Windass voice for extra effect) the ball past Neuer, leaving the German keeper a mere bystander. Italy erupted. The bench all did that awesome thing that Italians do when they are overjoyed and Mario whipped off his shirt to show his Superman physique. Even the tannoy staff were in awe, repeating his name several times, before the stadium FINALLY stood still.
Italy now had a foot into the final: Loaw and Germany were looking down the barrel!
After the break, the Germans were much improved, courtesy of Loaw’s half-time tactical changes. Marco Reus – a player, who, in his brief tenure in a German national shirt has looked every bit the future star he continually is tipped to be – worked Gianluigi Buffo into making an impressive save from a direct free-kick. Although the Germans had a few chances after this, it wouldn’t be until injury-time, when they broke their deadlock. Mesut Ozil dispatching from the spot to set up a frantic finish.
However, when all is said and done, Italy looked well worth their victory.
If, they repeat their current form, Spain must think their title could be in jeopardy!
Roll on Sunday…
Why always me? Why always me? I’m Super Mario – BALOTELLI!