New Reminders of Old Glories. Classy Italy Eliminate Germans.


Italy have this habit. This glorious habit of unimpressively sliding through a tournament with draws and forgettable wins and then being written off when they meet a top side in the knock out stages.

Balotelli saved his magic for the big day

Older readers will be recalling their famous 3-2 win over a superb Brazilian side  at the Estadio Sarriá in Barcelona.

That Brazil side had legends such as Junior, Socrates, Falcao and Zico. People compared it to Pele and Jarzinhos brilliant Brazil side of 1970.

Italy had failed to win a group game in a very weak group, drawing with Poland, Cameroon and Peru, but somehow finished second.

Both sides had beaten Argentina by the time they arrived in Barcelona, but Brazil by a goal more, so a draw would seem them through and dismiss the Italians.

On the day Italy had Paulo Rossi. He scored a hat trick and in the eyes of many, displayed the greatest individual performance ever seen in a World Cup Finals.

They did the same in the final that year, overpowering yesterday’s opponents, then only West Germany 3-1 in the final.

Interestingly they arrived at that tournament under the cloud of a corruption scandal.

For Paolo Rossi circa 1982, read Mario Balotelli, the superest of three Super Marios as EURO2012.

Now they have to do it one more time to halt the Spanish juggernaut in the showpiece final.


Dominic John reports

The Azzurri’s win over the Germans was unexpected to say the least. On the world’s greatest stage, and undoubtedly the biggest game in Italian history besides the Euro 2004 final, the highly scrutinized and explosively controversial Mario Balotelli, earned his nickname as ‘Super Mario’.

He opened up the scoring by converting a wonderful Antonio Cassano cross in the 20th minute, and from that moment on, you knew he was locked in and out to prove that he wasn’t all drama but results too. Nine minutes before half time, he struck again, proving that he has speed, control and clinical finishing all in his repertoire.

The Germans were a considerable favorite to win this match and meet Spain in the finals. However, they looked frail and uncertain in the back for most of the match. Whether Italy was just that much more determined and focused, or Germany underestimated Italy, the result speaks for itself.

The Germans pushed and tried to get back into the game, and they almost did, two minutes into stoppage time when Mesut Ozil blasted home from the spot. The entire nation of Italy was holding their breath until the final whistle came, as the Germans were not counted out until it blew.

Many will be asking just what game plan and approach Joachim Low was going for. He made a number of switches in the previous match, in some very key areas. He will have to answer to the German national as a whole in regards to why André Schürrle and Miroslav Klose were once again rotated out of the starting eleven for Podolski and Gomez. Having such talent to choose from can be hard, understandably so, but when the game is on the line, you need to know who your go to players are, and clearly Low had no clue.

At the end of the day, the trio of Cassano, Balotelli and Montolivo were just unstoppable. They connected so well with one another and looked to be powering on all cylinders. If they take this momentum into the finals versus Spain then the reigning champions’ quest for three major tournaments in a row could be in serious danger.

As we look forward to the final, there are a multitude of stars that will put their talents on display in order for their country to be victorious. Monday, July 1st, 2012, will put both teams to the test. The flash and flair of Spain, with the likes of Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas wanting to silence the critics with every single one of them watching and the Italian’s wanting to show that 2004 was no fluke; both teams will not be holding anything back.

This final is set to be one of the greatest matches we have seen in a long time. Balotelli has shown just how dominant he can be against the best in the world, and has one more obstacle to knock down. This truly is a match up of the greatest teams on the planet. With the Italians coming together and peeking as a team at the perfect time, and the Spanish going essentially unscathed throughout the tournament thus far, it will take something special to come out on top, and I for one, cannot wait.


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