Germany edges Italy in shootout to reach Euro Semis

BORDEAUX — In a penalty shootout full of drama, Germany was able to outlast a feisty Italy 6-5 after nine different players had to step to the spot.

Although Italy remains undefeated against Germany in official competitions, with the penalty shootout victory became the first time that Germany was able to send the Italians packing.

Here are the keys of the game

Too much respect

Germany who had been utilizing a 4-2-3-1 formation throughout  the tournament made a change to a 4-4-2 formation to try to put more pressure on the Italian back line and reduce the space in the midfield.

The intent was good in theory but in practice was completely different. Since the two full backs aren’t players known to go on the attack, the German team had trouble in opening  the game upfront and failed to create chances against the Juventus trio of Bonucci, Barzagli and Chiellini.

On the other hand, Italy continued to respect the same philosophy of allowing its opponent to have most of the possession of the ball but have a very direct attack once they reclaim possession.

Moving away from the script

After a not very entertaining first half, Germany began to up the pressure on Italy. The first decent opportunity came for Germany in the 54th minute when Muller shot from distance but his shot was acrobatically saved near the goal line by Alessandro Florenzi.

In the 65th minute, a clearance by Manuel Neuer ended in Mario Gomez with possession of the ball along the left sideline and trapped in between three Italian defenders. Jonas Hector for the first time in the game made a deep run, Gomez touched the ball into space and Hector was able to serve the ball into the heart of the box where Mesut Ozil emerged to place the ball into the back of the net.

Missed opportunity

After the goal, Germany took full control of the game and it seemed to be set for Germany to seal their place in the semifinals. Just three minutes after taking the lead the Germans had a golden opportunity to do so when Ozil with a lobbed ball into the box set up Gomez who had to hit the ball with his heel from short range and Buffon was able to make a heroic save to keep Italy alive.

Slowly Italy began to get back into the game and received a gift in the 76th minute when Jerome Boateng handled the ball inside the box. Bonucci stepped up to take the penalty and tied the game in the 78th minute.

Final efforts

After the game was leveled without many arguments Germany tried a bit more to try to win the game before the shootout, the only chances Germany generated came early in the second half of extra time at the 107th minute Draxler took an acrobatic shot  near the goal which sailed just high of the goal. One minute later Draxler led the counter for Germany and had Muller wide open on the right but his through ball was a bit long and the last great chance of the game was missed.

Germany will now face the winner of the France-Iceland game on July 7 in Marseille. Germany will not be able to count with centerback Mats Hummels for the game due to accumulation of yellow cards.

 

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