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Germany 1-2 Italy - Italy to play Spain in Euro 2012 final

Mario Balotelli of Italy battles with Philipp Lahm of Germany as he scores his team's second goal past Manuel Neuer of Germany during the UEFA EURO 2012 semi final match between Germany and Italy at the National Stadium on June 28, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland (credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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Mario Balotelli scored twice as Italy beat Germany 2-1 on Thursday night in the semi-finals of Euro 2012.

Balotelli's brace means Italy will play reigning champions Spain in the Euro 2012 final this Sunday night in Kiev.

Join bet365 and get a £200 free bet on Spain v Italy this Sunday!

It was an even start by both sides, but Germany nearly made it 1-0 inside five minutes when Italy failed to deal with a corner and Mats Hummels volleyed from close range, only to be denied by Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo, who combined to clear the ball off the line.

Buffon was kept busy in the opening 15 minutes, and looked indecisive on more than one occasion, kicking the ball out of play poorly, then failing to deal with a Jerome Boateng cross.

Germany had been the better side, but it was Italy who took the lead on 20 minutes, when Pirlo found Giorgio Chiellini on the left, who played the ball to Antonio Cassano. Cassano shrugged off Hummels with ease and crossed for Balotelli to head home and make it 1-0.

It was a good goal by Cesare Prandelli's side, but from Germany's point of view it was a sloppy one to give away.

Germany immediately went on the attack and looked dangerous going forward, with Sami Khedira drawing a superb save from Buffon.

But without the ball, Joachim Loew's defence looked suspect, and Italy doubled their lead on 36 minutes when Riccardo Montolivo's pass found Balotelli, who raced clear of Philipp Lahm and scored his second of the game with a superb swerving strike from 20 yards out.

The first half had no fewer than nine shots on target, with both sides playing some good, attacking football throughout. But at half-time, it was Italy who were heading through to Sunday's final as they led 2-0.

Germany made changes at half-time, bringing Marco Reus and Miroslav Klose on for Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez. Reus looked like an immediate threat as Loew's side piled forward, with Lahm missing a good chance to pull one back just minutes after the restart.

Italy made a change just before the hour mark, with Alessandro Diamanti on for the brilliant Cassano.

Reus nearly made it 2-1 with a superb curling free-kick from 25 yards out, which Buffon tipped on to the crossbar, as the Germans continued to threaten.

Italy made another change, this time a defensive one, with Thiago Motta coming on for Montolivo as the Azzurri tried to deal with the pressure.

But Italy nearly made it 3-0, with Diamanti playing in Claudio Marchisio, who shot narrowly wide.

Two-goal hero Balotelli was withdrawn for the final 20 minutes, being replaced by Antonio Di Natale, while Germany made their final change, bringing on Thomas Muller for the impressive Boateng.

With Germany fading, Marchisio had another chance to kill the game off, but fired wide when he should have squared the ball to Di Natale.

Di Natale then had a great chance just a couple of minutes later, but shot in to the side netting as Germany left themselves open to counter-attacks.

Germany eventually pulled one back in injury-time when they were awarded a penalty after Federico Balzaretti handled the ball inside the area. Mesut Ozil converted the spot-kick, but it was too little, too late, as Italy, who had never lost a competitive game against their opponents, booked their place in Sunday's final.

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Germany 1-2 Italy - Italy to play Spain in Euro 2012 final

Mario Balotelli scored twice as Italy beat Germany 2-1 on Thursday night in the semi-finals of Euro 2012.

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