Germany 1-1 Italy (6-5 pens): Low’s side advance to Euro 2016 semi-finals

first_imgGermany booked their place in the semi-finals of Euro 2016 beating Italy 6-5 on penalties, after drawing 1-1.It was a coming together of two tournament giants and the match was as closely contested as anticipated.The first half saw few clear-cut chances created and, while the Germans were more positive in possession, the Italians came closest to netting.Mesut Ozil opened the scoring on 65 minutes – his 20th goal for Germany – when he was quickest to meet Jonas Hector’s cross on the edge of the six-yard box, finishing well past Gianluigi Buffon.The Italians could well have folded as they came close to conceding a second, but they were back on terms within 13 minutes, Leonardo Bonucci converting a penalty after Jerome Boateng’s handball.With just over ten minutes left, the clash was taken to extra time – a repeat of their tournament meetings in 1970 and 2006.It eventually went to penalties in Bordeaux, where the Germans were successful, despite misses from Thomas Muller, Ozil, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, as Matteo Darmian’s missed effort proved crucial as Hector netted the winner.The yellow cards flooded in during the second half, with Mats Hummels receiving his second of the tournament, ruling him out of the last-four clash against the winner of France v Iceland.These sides met in a friendly in March, with the Germans winning 4-1 but it would not be so clear this time around. After a tight opening quarter, the Germans had to deal with a setback as Sami Khedira limped off with a groin injury, with Manchester United’s Schweinsteiger replacing him.As opposed to Italy’s meeting with Spain – where they were confident and direct – Conte’s men were set up solidly and respectfully for the clash with the world champions, who were camped in the opposition half for long periods.Substitute Schweinsteiger had a header disallowed after meeting Hummels’ cross into the box, fouling Mattia De Sciglio as he leapt into the air.De Sciglio soon got forward well and he sent a cross towards Sunderland attacker Emanuele Giaccherini, but Boateng tracked back well to make a last-ditch challenge.A game of pinball started in Italy’s box as they could not clear, while the German’s could not get a shot off. It soon fell to danger man Muller, who sent a disappointing attempt well wide in the end as danger was averted. But it was the Italians who nearly led on the break after Giaccherini’s cut-back fell to Stefano Sturaro, whose shot deflected off Boateng just past the post.Germany’s opener came shortly after the hour mark after excellent build-up play. Italy had pushed Low’s side backwards deep into Germany’s half, with Neuer being forced to go with a long clearance. It fell to Alessandro Florenzi on the halfway line and his poorly-cushioned header went straight to Muller, where the attack would start. The Munich attacker laid the ball out to Gomez on the wing, who made progress well before sending a reverse ball into the box for Hector to run on to. Hector – of FC Koln – crossed low along the six-yard box and Ozil beat the Italian defenders to finish past Buffon.It was nearly two just minutes later as a ball over the top found Gomez, who beat the offside trap. He controlled the ball in plenty of space in the box and, although he was through on goal, he could not shape a shot until late on and Buffon made a brilliant save to keep Italy firmly in the clash.Gomez was dealt a cruel blow a short time later when he pulled up and had to be replaced by Julian Draxler – fearing it may be his last appearance of the tournament.The Azzurri were nearly back on level terms when Southampton striker Pelle ran across his marker to meet De Sciglio’s cross, lashing a shot wide of the target. And, shortly after conceding, Italy looked beaten but they were soon back in it when Boateng bizarrely handballed in the box. Who should step up but central defender Bonucci. At the other end his Juventus team-mate Buffon could not look, but the 29-year-old coolly slotted past Neuer into the bottom corner.Neither side could nick a winner in the closing stages as the match entered extra time, followed by penalties.It was a long shootout, with seven misses in total. For Italy Simone Zaza, Pelle, Bonucci and Darmian missed as the Germans advanced due to Hector’s cool finish. Conte ends his Azzurri tenure with defeat and he can now begin work as manager of Chelsea. 1 It was a tight clash in Bordeaux as Jonas Hector’s spot-kick won it last_img read more