3 July 2016
Going into their Euro 2016 quarter final clash against Italy on Saturday evening in Bordeux, Germany had their work cut out for them.
Aside the Italians having been spectacular in the championship, the Germans had another thing to worry about; they’d NEVER defeated Italy at a major tournament.
In earlier major tournaments, Germany had four draws and lost four times to Italy. Saturday’s victory through penalty shoot-out was the first time ever that Italy lost to Germany.
Breaking the record down even further, all the four games Germany lost to Italy in the past were at the knockout stages – three times at the World Cup (semifinal in 1970, final in 1982, semifinal in 2006) and once at the European championship (semifinal in 2012).
Germany rose to the Italian challenge on Saturday and did what their legends couldn’t do – they defeated Italy.
The match, which was largely dominated by the Germans, saw German coach, Joachim Low, tinker with his formation, opting for a three-man defence for the first time at Euro 2016, a formation similar to Italy’s.
Italy maintained their usual formation as they went into the match against the impressive and very talented German team.
Both teams played to avoid conceding goals in the first half. In the second half however, the Germans took the initiative and attacked Italy’s solid defence.
With the German onslaught, Italy’s defence succumbed to a fine finish from Mesut Ozil in the 65th minute following a deflected cross from the left wing.
Germany looked like they would seal off the game in duration time, but that wasn’t to happen thanks to Jerome Boateng’s carelessness which saw him handle the ball in the box.
A penalty was rightly awarded and Juventus defender, Leonardo Bonucci confidently put the ball past German goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer despite going the right way.
With nothing to separate the two sides in duration time and extra time, the game went into penalties to decide who would face host France or the surprise quarter finalist, Iceland.
At the end of the day, Germany won 6 – 5 on penalties.