Balotelli brace sends Italy through
- 28 June 2012 21:59
- Posted by Nicola McCarthy
Mario Balotelli showed his international class by scoring both Italy’s goals in a surprise 2-1 win over Germany in the second Euro 2012 semi-final.
It was an incredible performance from the City striker who looked lively from the start and it wasn’t long before he opened the scoring with a powerful header after getting on the end of a well-placed Antonio Cassano cross.
Balotelli doubled Italy’s lead 16 minutes later when he raced onto Riccardo Montolivio’s through-ball and powered home with an unstoppable shot past Manuel Neuer to take his tournament total to three.
It was a deserved victory for the Italians, who could have added further goals in the second half had they taken advantage of the numerous chances afforded to them as an off-colour Germany chased the game.
Both Antonio Di Natale and Federico Balzaretti went close as the Azzurri continually hit Germany on the break as the clock ticked by, but they couldn’t find a killer third to confirm their place in the final.
The Germans were handed a last-gasp lifeline in injury time when they were awarded a penalty following Balzaretti's handball.
Mesut Özil expertly converted - but it was a case of too little, too late for Joachim Loew’s men, who only seemed to come to life in the dying minutes of the game.
As the final whistle went, it was Balotelli who was the toast of Italy with the Blues’ enigmatic striker perhaps finally arriving on the international scene and setting up a final against City team-mate David Silva at the weekend.