Mario Balotelli leads Italy past Germany to Euro 2012 final
By ANDREW DAMPF AP Sports Writer June 28, 2012 4:06PM
Italy's Mario Balotelli, left, kicks the ball past Germany's Holger Badstuber during the Euro 2012 soccer championship semifinal match between Germany and Italy in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, June 28, 2012. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
WARSAW, Poland — Mario Balotelli scored twice to give Italy a 2-1 win over Germany on Thursday and an unexpected spot in the European Championship final.
Extending its winless streak against Italy in major tournaments to eight matches, Germany had no answer for Balotelli nor Antonio Cassano’s creativity.
In the 20th minute, Balotelli had no trouble getting past Holger Badstuber to head in a pinpoint cross from Cassano. Then in the 36th minute, the 21-year-old striker received the ball behind the defense and blasted a long shot into the top right corner.
Mesut Oezil scored from the penalty spot in injury time for Germany.
Italy will face defending champion Spain in Sunday’s final.