By Piero Fiorino and Richard Bowman
It wasn’t the best game in terms of quality, however, when it came to nerves, this Germany-Italy game was right up there. Italy once again preferred to sit back and wait for the counter. Germany was happy with just holding possession and not doing a whole lot with it even though Italy was able to lock down any type of attack for the most part. After 64 minutes of no goals, it was Germany striking first as Mesut Ozil found the back of the net. Just 13 minutes later, Italy would get their best chance of the night when Germany’s Jerome Boateng got caught with a handball during an Italian corner. Leonardo Bonucci would put it past Manuel Neuer to tie things up. The game would end up going to penalties and there was plenty of bad. The shootout went 9 rounds after plenty of misses as Germany ended up pulling it off and finally breaking the curse.
Piero Fiorino: Italy concedes their first major tournament loss to Germany as they lose in penalty kicks. Germany struck first, as Mesut Ozil gave them the 1-0 lead. Italy was able to tie it up, however. Leonardo Bonucci put in a PK caused by a Jerome Boateng handball in the 78th minute. The Italians surprised many as they were able to take the reigning world cup champs to penalties, and the Azzurri will now look to capitalize on this good performance as they look ahead to the 2018 world cup. There is still much to question about this Italian team, but this performance in this tournament should give hope to not only the team but the fans as well.
Piero’s Grade: C-
Richard Bowman: C+
Richard’s Grade: Italy looked sluggish, however, their backline and Buffon were excellent once again. It was another frustrating performance from the midfield and forwards but this was too be expected after the squad Conte put together. Italy was able to make a few runs but the execution was poor. It was a frustrating performance after seeing what Italy was capable of on the attack against Spain. Italy was fortunate enough to get a penalty late and convert it. In the end, it was Germany pulling it out in a crazy penalty shootout. Italy proved a lot of people wrong in this tournament but like Piero mentioned above there’s still a lot of question’s to be answered. Antonio Conte will now be replaced by Giampiero Ventura.
Man of the Match
Piero Fiorino: Andrea Barzagli
Analysis: Barzagli, despite his age, made very solid defensive plays as well as made one of the PKs to keep Italy alive for a short time.
Richard Bowman: Mattia De Sciglio
Analysis: Italy’s backline was great but De Sciglio was great on the wing of the backline. He routinely won possession and moved the ball up the field.
Recent Soccer Articles: