Last gasp Italy through to final

Last gasp Italy through to final of Worldcup
Two goals in the closing minutes of injury time sent Italy through to the World Cup final, after a thrilling encounter with Germany in Dortmund.
The win was fully deserved as Marcello Lippi's team took the game to the hosts from the off, and only an inspired performance from Jens Lehmann kept Germany in the game.
The dream is over for Jurgen Klinsmann's Germany team, but they can be proud of their efforts over the course of the last four weeks. Even in this enthralling semi-final encounter they gave their all and restored a lot of credibility to their battered reputation.
For Italy, a team whose campaign looked at one point like it might be overshadowed by the corruption scandal sweeping through their national game, this match was a reminder of certain core Italian values. Their defensive security in this tournament has been peerless, but in Dortmund they allied this to a ferocious work rate and not a little flair - a combination that ultimately proved too much for Germany.
Lippi's side will now face the winners of the Portugal-France encounter in Sunday's final, and on the evidence of a wonderfully vibrant display against the hosts, they will approach that match with great confidence.
Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann sprung a surprise before kick-off by dropping Bastian Schweinsteiger and bringing in Sebastian Kehl. Tim Borowski came in for Torsten Frings who was suspended.
Italy welcomed Marco Materazzi for Andrea Barzagli after the Inter man's one-match suspension following a red card against Australia.
The best opportunity in the early stages fell to Perrotta who was put through on goal by delightful pass from Totti. However, the midfielder's first touch betrayed him allowing German keeper Lehmann to snuffle out the chance.
Totti was involved again shortly afterwards when he received a neatly-worked free-kick just inside the area, but his finishing let him down and his scuffed shot was blocked. Italy were on top and Luca Toni was the next to be denied after good work from Grosso.

At the other end Schneider should have done better when he was set up by Klose but with only Buffon to beat the winger blazed over. It was the best opportunity of the half and one of the few occasions that Germany had managed to stretch the watertight Italian defence.

It turning out to be an entertaining semi-final, and the referee was doing his best to let the game flow, frequently waving play on when players threw themselves to the ground. His approach did not endear him to the huge majority of the crowd, who felt that Italy were chief beneficiaries of his liberal style.

Shortly after the interval, Buffon showed why he is regarded by many as the best goalkeeper in the world, when he dived bravely at the feet of Klose to deny the striker at point blank range. Just after the hour mark, the Juventus stopper had to be alert to block Podolski's effort and when the ball fell to Friedrich the full-back could only blast his effort over the bar.

As the game progressed and tiredness became a factor, the chances were hard to come by. There was no shortage of effort and although there were no goals in normal time it was not for a lack of adventure on the part of both teams.

Gilardino almost broke the deadlock in the first minute of extra-time when he broke down the right, cut inside Ballack, but his left foot shot hit the post and rolled agonisingly across the line. Moments later Zambrotta struck a firm shot against the bar as Italy looked to ensure that the game was settled without recourse to the lottery of penalties.

At the end of the first period of extra-time Podolski had a wonderful chance to put Germany ahead when eluded his marker to meet Odonkor's cross, but his header flashed wide. In a frantic finale, Lehman was again Germany's saviour when he saved from del Piero from close range.

The ball was swept to the other end where Podolski brought an acrobatic save from Buffon. In the closing minutes del Piero's shot flashed past the post from the edge of the area, as Italy pressed for a winner. It was end-to-end stuff and before long the ball was swept forward to Odonkor but he sliced his effort wide.

Pirlo was then denied by a fine save from Lehman and from the resulting corner the Milan midfielder threaded a clever pass through to Grosso who produced a wonderful curling effort to finally beat the valiant Leman. The winner in stoppage time was the icing on the cake. With Germany pushing forward for an equaliser, Italy broke through Gilardino who fed del Piero on the overlap and the Juventus striker produced the sweetest of finishes to send Italy through to the final.

Coaches' Quotes:


We’re obviously very, very disappointed, no question about it, and that is to be expected when there is so much emotion involved and when it turns out that a dream has died. It really hurts when the other side delivers a knockout punch right before the final whistle – that takes some coming to terms with. Even we coaches need a moment to get over it. But I told the team straight after the match that they can be proud of themselves, that they've done so much and that they always pushed themselves to their limits. We showed that we can compete with the best teams in the world. We almost managed to score, and both teams had their chances, but we came up against an opponent who realised just before the end how to make the most of their opportunities and put the match out of our reach.
Congratulations to Italy and to Marcello Lippi. All the best to them for the Final. What we now want to do is give a fantastic performance for our fans in the match for third place and play some good football. In any case, the tournament has already been a real success for us and we can feel very proud of ourselves. There are players in the squad who have incredible potential and who are getting noticed on an international level. In a short space of time, they have made incredible progress. We can look to the future with a lot of optimism, and many of our squad have made a name for themselves on the international scene during the tournament.

Marcello LIPPI (ITA)

It would have been unfair if we hadn't won or if it had gone to penalties. Our game was on a higher level to Germany's tonight – we hit the post and the bar, and we had the better of the play. The hosts can have no complaints. We are incredibly happy to have played here in Germany and won despite the fact that there were 60,000 supporters against us. That shows the true character of my team. They played with a lot of confidence and kept possession very well. I’m extremely satisfied and am sure that all Italian fans will be just as pleased today.
It was clear that the end of the extra time would be decisive, which is why I brought on another attacker. As the game wore on, our quality began to shine through more and more, but nevertheless, we would still have been ready for penalties. We had a lot more of the possession overall and that gave us a certain confidence, even if we didn't manage to create that many chances. I’m pleased that Alessandro Del Piero was one of the players who helped to turn the match in our favour. That's not the end of it, though. Now we have to see who we will play in the Final, but we'll take whoever comes – we don't have any preferences.

Players' Quotes:

Andrea PIRLO (ITA), Man of the Match:

It was a fantastic game, absolutely overflowing with emotions. It was a childhood dream for me to play in a semi-final. I think that we earned our win today. We created a lot of chances, and we also definitely had the luck we needed.

Miroslav KLOSE (GER)

We are obviously incredibly disappointed. It was an even contest and both teams had their chances. Well done to the Italians. They were clever on the break and scored two lovely goals. We can still be proud of what we have achieved.

Gianluigi BUFFON (ITA)

We wanted to reach the Final and we’ve done it. (Marcello) Lippi made sure we were really up for it. I thank my team-mates for having scored two wonderful goals. I started to think about penalties from the beginning of the second half. All our wins are down to team spirit. They say Italy reach the Final every 12 years, and we’ve done it this time as well. Now we hope to go on and win.


We were just two minutes away from penalties. We created the better chances over the course of the match, and in the second half, we had three absolutely clear-cut chances. I'm not making any accusations or complaints, though. That's just the way football is.

Alessandro DEL PIERO (ITA)

You could all see how happy I was when I scored. We were desperate to win. The quality of this team lies in the strength of the squad. I’m not thinking about Sunday yet, I’m going to enjoy this moment and reflect on what we’ve done up to now. The job isn’t finished yet though.

Philippe LAHM (GER)

I don't think that we played worse than Italy today. It's a bitter pill for us to swallow. We concentrated on one thing and kept our focus right until the end, except for that one attack of theirs. We definitely want to win the Third Place match though.


We’re happy, it’s what we wanted and it’s a great feeling knowing we’re in the Final. They put us under pressure but we also created lots of chances. At the end of the day, we’re a great team and deserved to win.


We played a great game even though they did put us under lots of pressure. Our team spirit brought us victory. To win in front of such a partisan crowd is something to tell your grandchildren about. We’ll concentrate on the Final now. We want to win it!


We ended up being punished right at the death. It's really disappointing, because we only made that one mistake. I've no doubt that it'll be tough to pick ourselves up again now, but it was great, the way the crowd still cheered us on when we went one down. I don't know, it's difficult to say whether we can really be proud of ourselves.


We could have won today. Of course we knew that Italy would be even tougher than the teams we'd played before, but I still think that we did what we set out to do. We weren't looking beyond this match.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

itally ghahraman
france will fail fainal gaim
and ittally wiil win
my name is ahmad
i am your son and i am sorry for mr majid

2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:31 AM  

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