It was a show of class and resilience as Germany and Italy clashed in the third quarter final game of the ongoing Euro 2016 tournament hosted by France, in what seem to be the most keenly contested game of the competition at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux (on Saturday, July 2).
Germany, who had not defeated Italy in any competitive game, broke the jinx after winning 6-5 on penalties, following a 1-1 play in regular time and extra time, giving Germany their first victory over Italy in any tournament and securing them a spot in the semi-final of the competition. The victory sent German fans into jubilation ending strings of defeat to Italy in competitive games, with the most recent ones; the 2-1 defeat to Italy at Euro 2012 semi final and the 2-0 defeat to Italy at the 2006 World cup semi-final on home ground.
Both teams had excellent build up towards the match as they finished top of their respective groups and had impressive performances in the second round with Germany demolishing Slovakia 3-0, while Italy outclassed Spain 2-0.
After a not too sparkling first half which was dominated by Germany, they broke the deadlock in the 65 minutes after a perfectly executed finish by midfielder Mesut Ozil.
The Italians, however, levelled up in the 78th minute after Bonucci converted a penalty which was as the result of German central defender, Boatang handling the ball with his hands in the penalty area. It ended Germany’s 100% clean sheet in the tournament.
Germany dominated the game with a 58% to 42% possession but failed to convert most of their chances.
The game became progressively tensed and entered into penalties, after both sides failed to score in the extra time. The penalty shootout took a dramatic turn as Lorenzo Insigne, Andrea Barzagli, Emanuele Giaccherini , Marco Parolo and Mattia De Sciglio scored for Italy, while Simone Zaza, Graziano Pelle Leonardo Bonucci and Matteo Darmian failed to score.
On the other hand, Toni Kroos. Julian Draxle, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng and Jonas Hector scored for Germany with Jonas Hector taking the winning kick. But Thomas Mueller Mesut Oezil and Bastian Schweinsteiger failed to score.
There were few serious tackles with one or two confrontation in the second half and extra time up with Italy committing 13 fouls out of which they got 5 yellow cards. The Germans, on the other hand, committed 15 fouls with 2 yellow cards.
Germany has won their last 6 major tournament shootouts. This will be their 6th successive WorldCup/EURO semi-final.
Their semi-final opponent will be the winner between France and Iceland.
-Olalekan Olonilua for Encomium.ng