Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Arsenal: Gunners Seal Historic Victory in Germany

Borussia Dortmund 0-1 ArsenalA goal from in-form Welshman Aaron Ramsey helped Arsenal seal a vital three points at Dortmund. It was tough ask for the side that have failed to stand up to their previous perceived ‘tests’ against Dortmund and Chelsea at the Emirates, with them both leaving with victory in a fairly easy fashion. The stage was set for a cracking encounter. The Dortmund manager, Jurgen Klopp, had set it himself personally by suggesting Arsene Wenger deserves a knighthood. Mind games it seemed from the charismatic German, who admitted the only way Arsenal would win was if Dortmund ‘let them’.

The first half was something of a slow burner as both sides struggled to gain a foothold on the game. It was the hosts who had the better of it. Neven Subotic struck an early shot wide from a free kick and Henrikh Mkhitaryan wasted an opportunity by firing wide after having the freedom of Dortmund to find the net at Arsenal’s expense. The halftime whistle was something of relief for Arsenal. They had weathered part of the storm, although they had failed to deliver anything in an attacking sense. They were keeping a Dortmund side on red-hot form at bay.

Early in the second half it seemed likely that a Dortmund goal would arrive. Wojciech Szczesny saved a Marco Reus header and then the former Gladbach player had it in the net, although it was ruled offside. Dortmund’s luck clearly wasn’t in and that was displayed as Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored only for the linesman to put his flag up, although the Armenian knew it was coming as he reacted in a subdued manner.

Against the run of play, Arsenal took the lead. Mesut Ozil, who had failed to sparkle all evening, provided the cross for Aaron Ramsey to finish. Arsenal had the lead, a slender one at that, but it was a lead. It was hearts in mouths time for Arsenal moments later as Dortmund almost had themselves on level terms. Robert Lewandowski was almost met emphatically by Marco Reus, but it flashed away for an Arsenal goal kick.

Borussia Dortmund 0-1 ArsenalRamsey almost had himself another soon after, but Roman Weidenfeller was on hand to thwart the Welshman. Dortmund struggled to score against Arsenal in the dying embers and a penalty shout on Robert Lewandowski by Per Mertesacker was the best they conjured up. Speaking after the game, Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, made it clear he wanted to see a repeat on Sunday at Old Trafford:

“It strengthens the belief of my team that we can put another great performance in another massive game on Sunday. We want this kind of performance again.”

Currently on his richest vein of form since he signed for Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey is an early contender for PFA Player of the Year. Another positive performance on Sunday would be encouraging for Arsenal’s title challenge and it may even convince a few more pundits to back the London club in their pursuit of their first Premier League title since 2004. A buoyant Aaron Ramsey told the Daily Mirror of his delight after scoring the decisive winner:

“I’m enjoying myself at the moment and everything seems to be going in. I’m delighted with the way I’m playing and the goals I’m scoring but it was a great team effort and we are delighted with that.”

Dortmund manager, Jurgen Klopp, talked up Arsenal following defeat: “They could win it - as long as they don’t play Bayern Munich,” he said. He continued to heap praise on Arsenal: “They are young, healthy and good technicians. They won a clever game tonight.”

Arsenal now face Marseille safe in the knowledge that their task to qualify has been made a lot easier with a result that not many expected. Meanwhile, Dortmund face Napoli in the next round of games hoping they can find their return to winning ways after a frustrating evening.

Written by Jimmy Cartwright

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And Then There Was Özil: The Premier League’s Best Playmakers

Mesut ÖzilIn the dying moments of the summer transfer window, Arsenal had the news they’d been waiting for for days, weeks, arguably years. Arsène Wenger finally broke the tradition of years by splashing out more than £40 million on Real Madrid’s German playmaker Mesut Özil, the man who has racked up more assists and chances created than any other player on Earth in the last three years. Özil is unquestionably one of the best players in the world and it is a source of bemusement to millions that Madrid would let him leave, but he has big shoes to fill; the Premier League has seen its fair share of world-class playmakers over the years. Özil will be able to congratulate himself on a job well done if he earns a reputation to rival that of the others.

Gunners legend Dennis Bergkamp is regarded as the best foreign player to ever  grace English shores. Blessed with a feather-light touch, seemingly 360-degree vision and finishing to match any striker, Bergkamp was an integral part of the The Invincibles team of 2003-04, and was fellow legend Thierry Henry’s all-time favorite playing partner. ‘Dennis the Menace’ became known for scoring some of football’s all-time great goals, such as against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup or Newcastle in 2002.

Over a quarter of Bergkamp’s goals came from outside the box, but it was his passing range and assists that Bergkamp will really be remembered for at the Emirates. One touch from the “Iceman” was usually enough to take a defender, if not the whole defense, out of the game. In the record-breaking 03-04 season, he bagged 12 assists and scored four goals, meaning that almost a quarter of Arsenal’s league goals came through the brilliant Dutchman. He won seven trophies at Arsenal and countless individual honors throughout his glittering career, but it is not just the fashionable London clubs who have graced the Match of the Day highlight reels with brilliant playmakers.

Matt Le Tissier, potentially the best penalty taker of all time (48 out of 49 converted) and one of England’s favorite one-club men. Having been turned down by Oxford United, Le Tissier moved to Southampton at the young age of 17 and stayed there for his entire career (save a few games for Eastleigh and Geurnsey, his local teams). A quick YouTube search of his name brings up endless highlight reels of cheeky skills, long range screamers, and his fabled flicked free-kick against Wimbledon, and to this day, he is still worshiped as a semi-deity on the south coast.

A scoring record of better than one in three across 16 years for the Saints tells its own story, but he made little impression on the international stage; no goals in his only eight games for England. The first midfielder to reach 100 goals in the Premiership, Le Tissier left an indelible mark on Premier League history, not bad for a man nicknamed ‘Fat Le Tissier’ throughout the country.

JuninhoBut one player who couldn’t have been accused of being overweight was diminutive 5′ 5″ Brazilian Juninho, voted Middlesbrough’s all-time greatest player, as well as being one of the most popular foreign imports around the country. Boro caused a stir throughout the footballing world when they signed the Brazilian player of the year from São Paulo in 1995, and he quickly became a fans’ favorite on Teesside. ‘The Little Fella’ became known for playing football on the street with local children, but it was his exploits on the pitch with players like Emerson and Fabrizio Ravanelli that earned him plaudits for his silky dribbling, eye for goal and bravery on the pitch.

Juninho helped Boro to FA Cup and League Cup finals in 1997, but Boro lost both and were relegated from the Premier League by two points on the final day having been docked three points earlier in the season (they failed to fulfill a fixture against Blackburn after a virus swept through the squad), with Juninho’s crying figure slumped on the Elland Road turf now an iconic picture in the club’s history. He left to further his chances of making the Brazil World Cup squad but returned for two more spells on Teesside, helping Boro to their first major trophy, the League Cup, in 2004.

One team who have suffered considerably fewer trophy droughts over the years are Manchester United, and one of their greatest players, Paul Scholes (who retired earlier in 2013) is another one of the Premier League’s best playmakers. Scholes started his career just a year after the Premier League’s inception in 1992, going on to make 499 appearances for Manchester United in 20 years at the very top level (with a bit of a break after 2011). Players like Thierry Henry and Ryan Giggs list him among their favorite players, and the general consensus in the wider footballing world is that England were not as appreciative of Scholes’ passing as they should have been. If he had played for Spain, for example, he may have been much more celebrated during his illustrious career.

Scholes was never afraid to shoot - everyone remembers his 30-yard bullet against Barcelona - but a scoring record of better than one in five is all the more impressive when you think that the teams he played in have been centered around the goal-scoring exploits of players like Robin Van Persie, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Ruud Van Nistelrooy. When it comes to one of England’s most technically gifted players, the final word must go to probably the best midfielder of the last five years, if not this century. Barcelona’s metronomic passing machine Xavi said of United’s Ginger Prince, “In the last 15 to 20 years the best central midfielder that I have seen - the most complete - is Scholes.”

Steven GerrardAnother English midfielder to have earned the respect of the greats is Liverpool’s living legend Steven Gerrard, who both Zinedine Zidane and Pelé rate as one of the greatest midfielders to ever grace the greatest game on earth. Aged 33, Gerrard still has a few years left in the tank (injury permitting) and is one of a select group to have passed a century of caps for England, many of them as captain.

His match-winning double against West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup Final will surely be remembered as one of the best individual cup final performances in living memory, and it is said that it was his half-time speech that led to Liverpool’s remarkable comeback against AC Milan on ‘that night in Istanbul.’ Many great players have passed through Anfield’s hallowed gates in the last 15 years - Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Emile Heskey, and more - but one player always remained constant through good times and bad, and Liverpool will be a much different place when he’s gone.

Liverpool have never felt the need to replace Gerrard, but one club who have had more than their fair share of playmakers over the years are Chelsea, and unquestionably the best of the lot was lovable little Italian Gianfranco Zola, now managing a free-flowing Watford side in the Championship. Zola joined Chelsea after a trophy drought that was a million miles away from their current situation, having not won silverware for 25 years. By the time he left in 2003, the Blues had begun to establish themselves as a major power in England, with four domestic titles and two European trophies added to the Stamford Bridge trophy cabinet.

On top of his own individual gongs, Zola also won an OBE in 2004, with the British embassy in Rome saying that he was ”the most enduring and popular foreign player in the history of Chelsea” as well as praising his charity work. Zola made an instant impression in London, dazzling fans with his dribbling skills and brilliant goals; remember the mid-air back-heel against Norwich? Zola left on a high after winning his second Chelsea Player of the Year award despite fans’ pleadings for him to stay, and he has carried on his attacking philosophies into management, with Watford only narrowly missing out on promotion to the Premier League in the playoff final last year.

Cesc FàbregasZola’s departure from London in 2003 coincided with the arrival of another special little player, a Spanish teenager named Francesc Fàbregas, who joined the Arsenal academy from the fabled La Masia academy of Barcelona at the age of 16. Although Fàbregas was not focused on making the starting 11 when he joined - he instead concentrating on learning the language and learning from players like Gilberto Silva and Patrick Vieira - but after a month at the club he was already the youngest player and youngest goalscorer in the history of the club. He made his first league appearances in 2004, but made headlines for the wrong reasons after allegedly throwing pizza at Sir Alex Ferguson following a match against Manchester United.

In 2004-05, Fàbregas became the second-youngest player to score in the Champions League and took the #4 shirt of Vieira the following year. From then on there was no stopping his rise to the top, with an impressively calm and cool head on his young shoulders and the passing range of a cultured playmaker beyond his years. He started chalking up goals and assists, and soon he would be one of the senior players in an increasingly young team, taking the captain’s armband in 2008.

He continued his personal good form but became frustrated by the lack of trophies at the club, with Arsenal rejecting a €35 million bid from Barcelona for his services. After eight years at the club though, he made the switch back home to Camp Nou to play with close friends like Gerard Piqué and Andrés Iniesta. He hasn’t held down a constant starting berth and was subject to several bids from Manchester United over the summer, so a return to the Emirates is far from impossible in future; Arsenal fans can only hope.

So there we have it; from London, to the South Coast, to Teesside and back again, we have been lucky enough to witness some truly breathtaking playmakers in the last 21 years or so, and with players like Juan Mata and Philippe Coutinho continuing the trend today, we can look forward to more Bergkamps and Juninhos gracing our shores in years to come. Missed out your preferred Premiership playmaker? There isn’t enough room in the world to include the whole 21 years of midfield brilliance on one page, so fight for their cause in the comments below!

Written by Sam France

Real Madrid Star Mesut Özil Signs for Arsenal in Club Record £42.5m Deal

Mesut ÖzilAfter an extremely frustrating summer that had promised so much, Arsenal finally landed the biggest transfer of the Premier League with the signing of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.5m, completely smashing their club transfer record. Arsenal had tried relentlessly to bring in big names, but had perhaps not done enough. First it was Gonzalo Higuain, who seemed Emirates bound before Napoli showed more ambition and signed him for £34.5m.

They also came in for Luis Suarez, putting in an offer £35m, £40m, and then the iconic bid of the summer: £40 plus £1. Again Liverpool shunned it and Arsenal lowered their pursuit of the Uruguayan. In the end it came to deadline day, and demands for a star player met in the form of Mesut Ozil. It was a transfer that took people by surprise, with Germany coach Joachim Low describing it as ‘incomprehensible’ that Florentino Perez would let the midfielder go, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Sami Khedira were described as ‘saddened’ by the loss of their teammate.

The sale still seems to be confusing to many, and Real Madrid’s intentions look to have been completely pointless. To sell a player in the prime of their career who had hit the top of the assists table in their previous season does deserve to be dubbed as ‘incomprehensible,’ especially when taking into account that they had signed Gareth Bale for twice the price, a player who has not performed on the biggest stage in the same vain as Ozil. The whole move seems like a fire-sale from Real Madrid.

There are arguments that the Premier League has gained a better player in Mesut Ozil; the German has been the spine of Real Madrid since he joined in 2010 and has also been a vital aspect of the German national team. To think Gareth Bale would be worth twice as much the three years after the World Cup would have been described as ‘crazy talk’ at the time. It still can be, only a year older than Gareth Bale, Ozil still has as many years to make an impact. Although he is still at the young age of only 24, he is also extremely packed with experience. Arsenal have perhaps been the biggest winners in the Bale to Madrid saga.

Mesut ÖzilTottenham Hotspur could be described as coming on the losing side in the end. Daniel Levy said he felt ‘betrayed’ by Florentino Perez according to El Confidencial after news emerged Ozil would be allowed to leave to Arsenal. Tottenham had supposedly inquired about the midfielder as part of the Gareth Bale transfer. Levy had tried on deadline day to talk Perez out of selling Ozil to Arsenal, but it was to no avail. Spurs may come to bemoan the Real president if they miss out on the Champions League once again.

The record move of Mesut Ozil has turned Arsenal into title contenders, genuine ones at that. His former manager, Jose Mourinho, described him as the best number 10 in the world, suggesting that the Figo and Zidane are evident in him. Ozil has announced that he is keen to work with Arsenal and is confident he can play a starting role this season, while Arsene Wenger will help him develop even further:

“I am looking forward to the new challenge there [Arsenal]. I have already heard that they have super fans, the city is great and the team is fantastic. Wenger gives me the faith and I can develop further. I know what I can do and I know that I could make the grade with any club in the world because I am so convinced in myself.”

Arsenal teammate Theo Walcott said the transfer was a real statement from the club, and that it’s a sign that they are ready for the ‘step up.’ He also claimed that he was excited to link up with the German, stating, “He’s been a great addition and I am personally looking forward to playing with him. I am really excited to play with him.”

Ozil’s move to Arsenal also highlighted how poorly Manchester United have operated in the transfer market. They had a deadline day farce in the move for Ander Herrera, and the purchase of Marouane Fellaini turned into an embarrassment after it was revealed they had paid more than his buy-out clause, which had expired earlier in the window. Gary Neville took a pop at his former club on Twitter, tweeting, “What transfer deadline day does is give you clear indication on the poorly run football clubs!!”

It may not have been the striker Arsenal were looking for, but it can’t be denied that he is a marquee signing, perhaps the biggest signing in Arsenal’s history. First up will be a trip to Sunderland for the German, quite contrasting to anything he had experienced during his time in Spain with Real Madrid.

Written by Jimmy Cartwright

How Will €30m Signing Isco Fit in at Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid?

IscoIsco is one of the brightest talents on the globe at the moment and he has been on Real Madrid’s books since he caught the eye of the world last season. He had a great year with Malaga, who finished 6th in La Liga and advanced to the latter rounds of the Champions League. Isco is a delightful attacking midfielder who has tricks and an eye for goal. He dips and dodges past defenders with ease, and loves to run at his marker.

His move to Real Madrid was a massive one for Los Blancos. Isco signed for Madrid for a fee of around €30m on a contract that ties him down for five years at the club. He has been compared to midfield guru Andres Iniesta and could become as big as him if he gets the chance to develop as a player and a person. Now, the big question is where will he fit? Madrid have some great options to play in the positions he plays, and it is unlikely that he could push Ozil, Ronaldo, or Di Maria out of position. With Di Maria’s future in speculation -with AS Monaco reportedly interested in the Winger - Isco could fit in there somewhere if the Argentine decides to depart Los Meringues.  Here is the most likely formation that Madrid would use without Isco:

Ronaldo will not lose his position to anyone unless he picks up an injury; he could arguably be one of the best players to grace the Santiago Bernabeu pitch. Just alongside him is Ozil, the frighteningly creative German who plays in the middle of Cristiano and Angel Di Maria. These are not the only 3 players who could fight against Isco for a starting place. Kaka and Modric will also be fighting for their starting spot, and with Carlo Ancelotti on his way to link back up with Kaka (depending on the Brazilians future), maybe Kaka could improve and break in to start a handful of games.

Isco is likely to play some games next season, but in the big games, like the spectacular El Clasico, he may not start and will be favored to sit on the bench with his blanket wrapped around his legs on a cold Spanish winter night. Isco is quite a creative player and can turn a defender inside out with one twist of his body, and he can send defenders into a spiral of dizziness (see video below).

IscoThe Spaniard has the flare and technique that could make him a consistent starter in a couple of years if he is nurtured correctly and develops into a player worthy of playing for one of the most historic clubs in world football. With Madrid’s development system in younger players, he could maybe even become one of the best midfielders in the world. I cannot see how Isco can fit into the squad, but if Di Maria leaves then maybe he could be pushed out wide onto the right. Although he is more comfortable playing as a #10, it will be an uphill struggle to displace Mesut Özil, who is widely regarded as one of the best #10′s in modern football

Isco went into his first competitive game for Real Madrid against Real Betis in La Liga. He managed to play quite a good game, but Real didn’t start that way, impressively going 1-0 down against Betis. Isco had to help Madrid out twice, the first time was an assist for French striker Karim Benzema who tapped in Isco’s low cross to make it 1-1. Isco then scored a late winner for Los Blancos in the 86th minute to make it 2-1 to Carlo Ancelotti’s side. Marcelo delivered a cross for Isco to knock it past the keeper and win it for Madrid.

The team that started the game was in a formation of 4-4-1-1, with Isco was deployed on the left hand side, pushing Cristiano Ronaldo into the center forward position with Ozil was playing out right. It’s debatable whether or not Ancelotti will play Isco week in week out because of Angel Di Maria, who is of very high quality and is a player who you could struggle to leave out of a starting XI. Ozil will most likely be one of the first names on the team sheet, so Isco will struggle to displace him from that position. It will be interesting to see what Carlo Ancelotti will do.

Written by Luke Taylor

Copa Del Rey 2013 Semi Final Preview: Barcelona vs Real Madrid

El ClásicoOn Tuesday night, millions of people worldwide will have their eyes glued to their TV’s as El Clásico will take place at Camp Nou.

It is certain to be a thrilling game as a place in the Copa Del Rey final hangs in the balance, following a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabéu. In the first leg, the sides battled out a draw with nothing to separate the teams. Madrid defender Rafael Varane, who is just 19 years of age, was one of the stand out stars of the night, and provided Madrid with a fearless defensive display to keep the big guns of Barcelona quiet for most of the night. Since this tie, Madrid and Barca have both managed 2 wins, a draw, and a loss. In the UEFA Champions League, Madrid held Manchester United to a 1-1 draw in the 1st leg, whilst Barcelona have a huge mountain to climb as they lost 2-0 to AC Milan at the San Siro.

With Barcelona 15 points clear of rivals Real Madrid, surely José Mourinho’s team can no longer retain their league title. Therefore, Madrid have set their attentions to the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League. Mourinho knows he must win a trophy this season, or he will be under serious pressure in his managerial position, although rumors suggest he will leave the club anyways at the season’s end. Madrid will fancy their chances as they are unbeaten in their last 4 games against Barcelona, earning 3 draws and a win. However, Barcelona will also fancy their chances as they are flying form domestically this year, 12 points clear at the top of La Liga, and in the semi-final of the Copa Del Rey.

Real Madrid

Things To Note
  • Real Madrid have the 2nd best away defensive record, only conceding 13 goals away from home this season.
  • They have a very solid defence, with the likes of Ramos and Varane at their disposal.
  • However, even with the quality Madrid have going forward, they still lack the amount goals that matches Barcelona. They have scored 20 less goals this season than Barcelona in La Liga, which has let them down this season.
  • Real Madrid have lost 5 games away from home this season in La Liga.
Key Players
Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano RonaldoClearly Real Madrid’s most influential player this season, netting 37 goals in total in the 2012-2013 season (4 of which were scored in the Copa Del Rey). Every time Cristiano Ronaldo steps on the pitch, he poses a threat to any opposition he comes up against. He possesses a good record against Barcelona in recent times, scoring 4 goals against the Catalan Giants this season (La Liga-2, Super Cup-2). Ronaldo owns many strengths such as pace, power, and aerial ability. He will be looking to use these abilities against Barcelona, and guide his side to Copa Del Rey success.

Mesut Özil

In recent weeks, Özil has been a stand out performer for Real Madrid. He impressed against Manchester United in the Champions League, looking very energetic and creating many chances for Madrid. In La Liga this season, he has scored 4 goals and assisted 7 goals. He seems to link up well with Madrid’s hit-man Cristiano Ronaldo. He is certain to start for Madrid on Tuesday, as he has played a key role in their success this season.


Things To Note
  • Barcelona are in great form this season, only losing 1 game domestically.
  • They are unbeaten in Nou Camp this season.
  • They lost their previous Champions League game 2-0 against AC Milan.
  • They have scored 80 goals in La Liga already this season (with Lionel Messi scoring just under half of those goals [37]).
Key Players
Lionel Messi

Lionel MessiHe doesn’t take much describing really; he has been classed as ‘The greatest ever’ several times by many pundits. Week in week out, he performs for Barcelona and just continues to score and score. In 2012, he scored a record-breaking 91 goals in a calendar year. It really was breath-taking to see a player of his quality continue to score as often as he did. There is no doubt that he will be a key part of Barcelona’s play on Tuesday, as he links up well with Xavi and Iniesta who are the core of Barcelona’s offense.  The clash of Ronaldo vs Messi will be a one to watch, as they both strive off each other’s success, but who will win this battle?

Andrés Iniesta

Andrés Iniesta will play a very active role on Tuesday evening. He has assisted 13 goals for Barcelona this season and has scored 2 goals. Iniesta has an extraordinary pass success rate this season (89%) which is way above the average La Liga player. He has great composure on the ball and can always find a pass. He has great vision and can read the game like no other. When Lionel Messi broke the goal record last year, Xavi and Iniesta assisted the majority of goals he scored. Messi links up well with Iniesta and understands the way in which he plays.


El Clásico is certain to entertain, with 2 world class teams facing each other aiming to set the world alight and guide their team to the Copa Del Rey Final. With the game hanging on a knife edge with the score (1-1) after the first leg, both teams will be looking to win the game; this will guarantee goals. Both teams own world class players with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Mesut Özil, and Andrés Iniesta. You are certainly in for a treat and this match-up is a MUST watch for all football fans.

Prediction: Barcelona 2-1 Real Madrid

Written by FirstFastFooty

Germany vs. Italy Recap

After finding the perfect opportunity, the ball is passed to Italy forward Mario Balotelli, who outruns defender Philipp Lahm and scores.

This post is probably one of the harder ones for me to write. Even though the Germany National Team is my favorite during international championships, I must say that they did not play as they usually do at their semifinal against Italy in Warsaw, Poland. In the past, Italy and Germany have met 7 times at international tournaments, and Italy has one every single game. Lukas Podolski, a German forward, vowed that he would help the team break this “curse.” By the end of the second half, Germany realized that their dream has not come true, and their curse has not been broken. The game stats were pretty well balanced, with Germany having 54% possession and 15 shots (8 on target), and Italy having 46% possession and 10 shots (5 on target). Germany had some few promising chances in the first half from Hummels, Kroos, Özil, and Khedira, all which were blocked by Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. For Italy, some of the attempts proved to be successful. In the 20th minute, Antonio Cassano avoided a challenge and chiped the ball into the penalty area, where Mario Balotelli delivered an excellent header past German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. Just 16 minutes later, a long distance pass was given to Mario Balotelli. Even with the German captain Philipp Lahm at his feet, Balotelli ran toward the net and whipped the ball over Neuer, which sailed into the top-right corner. Other than that, not many shots from the Italians were fired at the goal. In the second half, Germany once again managed to make some nice set-ups for goals, but the balls did not get past Buffon. Marco Reus almost scored off of a free kick, but the goalkeeper deflected the ball with his fingers. Italy also had some good chances, but they couldn’t make a third goal. Finally, after the 90th minute, the ball was handled by Balzaretti in the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick. Even after Mesut Özil scored, they were unable to score in the last two minutes, resulting in a 2-1 win for Italy. Italy advances forward and will play Spain in the Euro 2012 Final on July 1st.

Written by FutbolPulse