Mario Balotelli scored twice to seal Italy’s 2-1 semi-final win over Germany on Thursday to leave the Euro 2012 favorites ambitions in tatters while the Azzurri march on to the final.
Manchester City’s youngster broke German hearts with a first-half header and sublime strike as Joachim Loew’s inexperienced team, the youngest of the 16 at Euro 2012, failed to cope with Cesare Prandelli’s street-wise Italians.
A late penalty from Mesut Ozil proved no more than a consolation score for the Germans whose 16-year wait for a major title continues.
Italy are now into Sunday’s final in Kiev to face defending champions Spain with the Italians bidding to win their first European crown since 1968.
Germany 1-2 Italy Highlights
Cesare Prandelli hailed Mario Balotelli’s performance as “excellent” and “unique” after his two goals put Italy in the Euro 2012 final with a 2-1 win over Germany.
The 21-year-old Manchester City man showcased his great talent with two brute-force strikes in the first half to send his team through.
“Ballotelli was excellent, just like the whole team,” Prandelli said. “I believe that a team should have an idea and Balotelli really corresponded to this idea. He had a great performance.”
“Balotelli was in the game, he did exactly what I asked him to do,” the coach added. “When it comes to Balotelli, I think he is unique. He is strong physically, he can work for the team, but he is also on time, when he is required in the penalty area.”
Barcelona have signed Valencia left-back Jordi Alba for €14 million on a five-year contract, the club revealed on Thursday.
The 23 year old, who is with his national team at Euro 2012 in Ukraine, is expected to arrive in Barcelona after the tournament final.
“FC Barcelona can announce that it has reached an agreement today with Valencia CF for the transfer of player Jordi Alba, pending the player’s medical examination when he comes to the city of Barcelona next week,” the club said in a website statement.