Everyone was expecting a Germany-Spain final for Euro 2012. Even the German newspapers seemed sure that their team would make it to the final. Didn’t Germany learn from England? The English press had also thought Italy would be an easy team to beat and they lost to them in the QFs in a penalty shoot-out. Like the English press, the German press saw Italy as an easy way to get to the final. Mario Balotelli wasn’t going to let that happen though.
Although I was rooting for Italy, I had watched Germany’s last few matches and thought it was going to be very tough for them. People who were watching this match were hoping there would be more goals than in yesterday’s SF. Lucky for them, there was an early goal.
But it wasn’t Germany who scored first. It was Italy. More specifically, Mario Balotelli, also known as “Super Mario” to his fans. He scored off a header in the 20th minute and gave Italy the lead. Ten minutes before HT, Super Mario struck again and doubled Italy’s lead over Germany. There was nothing Germany’s keeper, Manuel Neuer, could do about it, except just stand and watch the ball as it went past him and into the net. It was 2-0 Italy at HT.
The German coach knew he had to make some changes. So he took out Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski and replaced them with Marco Reus and Miroslav Klose. Adding these two players was a good move on Germany’s part. Germany started to get more chances, even Mats Hummels came close to scoring for Germany.
Their best chance came when they were given a free kick. Reus’ free kick was inches from the goal, but Italy’s Gianluigi Buffon, made a great save. In extra time, there was a handball called against Italy and Germany was awarded a penalty. Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil stepped up to take it and scored, making the score to 2-1 Italy. Unfortunately, this was too little, too late for Germany and their supporters. The ref blew the whistle a few minutes later and Italy won 2-1.
Germany had a great tournament, but they were the favorites to make it to the final, so many German supporters and the players will be disappointed after this match. Sunday’s final will be between Spain and Italy, the winners of the last two World Cups.
No matter who wins Sunday, the trophy will be carried by a great captain/keeper. Personally, I will be rooting for Spain, but if Italy wins, I will congratulate them on making it to the final after being underestimated by most people.