Yippee! Didn’t I Say so? I had backed italy to win their Semi-Final match against Germany in the FIFA World Cup 2006 and they did so in quite dramatic fashion! In a closely-fought encounter, Italy were the team that looked sharp initially and started off confidently. They had a few spiffy chances which couldn’t translate into goals though! they had the bulk of the possession and any German forays were met with the Man-of-Steel…Fabio Cannavaro! Italy as impeccable in defence as ever. The second half saw a resurgent Germans make some telling attempts but they were either off-target or were saved/defended well. Bert Schneider and Lukas Podolski missed two chances apiece and the game went into Extra time.
Italy were the ones who started off the extra time in a confident fashin as Gilardino hit the post twice and so did Zambrotta…all in the first three minutes of extra time :0 The deadlock was finally broken in the 119th minute as Grosso latched on to a pass from Andrea Pirlo after an Italian corner and curled it beautifully past Jens Lehmann for the winning goal. And Alessandro Del Piero hammered the nail into the german coffin 2 minutes later as he scored on a counter-attack in the 121st minute! Germany were thus knocked out of the tournament and will now play for the third place! With comparison to Italy, for whom Totti & Pirlo were magnificient in Midfield, Germany’s Midfield lacked bite…particularly with Michael Ballack & Tim borowski ineffective and striker Miroslav Klose having an off-day! Jens Lehmann was their most effective player who managed to hold on to as many as 10 Italian corner shots!!!
Italy will now face the winner of the second semi-final between Portugal & France to be played today. And whatever team they play in the Final, the Azzurri will be confident of winning their fourth FIFA World Cup! And I support them fully
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