Friday, 26 June 2009

[Euro U21] Germany snatch victory

Germany will play England in the final of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship after narrowly defeating Italy 1-0 in the semi-final in Helsingborg.

Italy 0-1 GermanyItaly dominated the match at the Olympia Stadium but Andreas Beck scored the all-important goal with a stunning strike three minutes after half-time when he unleashed a long shot which swerved beyond Andrea Consigli's grasp.

Manuel Neuer had been the main reason the Azzurrini were not ahead in the first half after making a number of crucial saves.

The German goalkeeper punched away a swerving shot from star man Sebastian Giovinco which was going high into the net before tipping captain Marco Motta's thumping header on to the bar.

Robert Acquafresca missed a host of opportunities in front of goal, while Motta, Salvatore Bocchetti, Antonio Candreva and Luca Cigarini all went close before well-placed defender Mesut Ozil cleared off the line from the near post as Italy dominated with forwards Giovinco and Mario Balotelli influential.

The half-time whistle could not come too soon for the Germans, but they assumed command soon after the restart when Beck shocked the five-time European champions with a spectacular long-range strike, which eluded Consigli and curled in at the far post.

Balotelli almost equalised minutes later when his powerful free-kick flashed wide and the Inter player had another effort pushed out by Neuer.

The goal knocked Pierluigi Casiraghi's side off their stride and Germany began to assume control in midfield, restricting the Azzurrini to long shots.

However, Marco Andreolli put a header inches wide and Neuer produced an improvised save when he kicked Balotelli's powerful shot away with his right foot.

Italy had a strong penalty appeal turned down late on as the Germans held on to set up a rematch with England in the final in Malmo on Monday.

The English reached the final earlier in the day by beating hosts Sweden 5-4 on penalties after a thrilling 3-3 draw in Gothenburg.

Italy: Consigli, Criscito, Bocchetti, Andreolli, Motta (Pisano 86), Cigarini, Dessena, Candreva (Abate 67), Balotelli, Giovinco, Acquafresca (Paloschi 78).
Germany: Neuer, Beck, Boateng, Howedes, Bonisch, Khedira, Aogo, Castro, Marin (Ben-Hatira 59), Ozil (Hummels 90), Dejagah (Wagner 86).

[UEFA Euro U21 Championships 2009]

Source: Sky Sports

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