Italy joined Spain in the final of Euro 2012, after comprehensively beating the much-fancied Germans 2-1.
Mario Balotelli decided to be the hero last night, with two goals in the first-half that condemned the Germans to defeat. The Manchester City striker has a love-hate relationship with Italian coach Cesare Prandelli. In the group-stages of the tournament, Balotelli came on from the bench to score a fantastic goal against Ireland and had to be restrained by his teammates from venting his thoughts on his role as a substitute to the Italian bench during his celebration.
Balotelli’s first goal came from a well worked Antonio Cassano cross after some shoddy German defending. Yes, that’s shoddy German defending – something you don’t hear often at all. Cassano crossed the ball in from the left and Balotelli wriggled free of the defence to meet the ball with a powerful header and leave Manuel Neuer no chance in the German goal.
Balotelli’s second goal came from a trademark Italian attack. A through ball cleared the German defence to leave Balotelli one-on-one with Neuer. After one touch to set himself, Balotelli smashed the ball right footed into the top corner from 20-yards, leaving Germany staring at defeat.
With Germany 2-0 down at half-time, Germany coach Joachim Low called for the go-to man Miroslav Klose. Klose’s introduction at half-time failed to spark Germany back into life and Italy kept the ball professionally throughout and minimised Germany’s chances. On the 91st minute Germany had a ray of hope, after a handball in the box allowed Mesut Ozil to convert the subsequenting penalty past Gianluigi Buffon. The goal was the only consolation on a miserable night for Germany.
Balotelli told the Telegraph:
Tonight was the most beautiful of my life, but I hope that this Sunday is even better.
Kiev will host Sunday’s Euro 2012 final and many people will fancy Vincent Del Bosque’s Spain. Spain will be the first team to win 3 major International tournaments in a row and although they have not been at their dazzling best, no one can doubt the supreme quality they have running through the viens of the team. Betdaq are offering a best priced 28/25 for a Spain win, whilst it’s 11/10 at most other bookmakers.
Italy, while beating Germany, certainly showed they are no pushovers – and they can play football too. It was a great performance and the comprehensive victory will give them all the belief in the world they can be crowned European Champions. Stan James are best priced 100/30 for an Italian victory in 90 minutes but my recommendation is Italy to lift the trophy best priced 8/5 at Bet365.