The Beautiful Game at Its Best

By Blaidd Drwg

Amazing. Just absolutely amazing. If you told me the score of yesterday’s Italy-Germany match in the Euro 2012 semis was 2-1, I would have just assumed that Germany won the game. Italy, shocking everyone, pulled it out in one of the best games I have seen in a long time. If you have not watched this game, watch it. It is the perfect example of why soccer is called the beautiful game.

Italy played brilliantly – they attacked, they were patient and they spread the German defense by working the ball in and then passing it back out. The first Italian goal was one of the best goals I have seen in a long time – Italy works it in to the top of the box, have nothing, send it back out to midfield, long pass to the left wing (who was open) splits the defense and crosses to the middle, header in the net. The score of that game should really have been something like 5-1, but Italy missed 3 goals in the last 15 minutes when Germany was pushing their entire defense up and Italy was just lobbing it down the field to wide open players.

The result was a surprise since Italy has not looked good lately. They limped into Euro 2012 with a ton of uncertainty and very young players. The tied Spain 1-1, and looked pretty good there, but then they tied Croatia by getting too conservative at the end of the game (and nearly losing in the process). They did beat Ireland, but Ireland is the worst team in Euro 2012, so it is not saying much.

On to the quarterfinals, they beat England in penalty kicks, but it should not have been that close. They outshot England something like 35-6 (with 16 shots on goal) and really did dominate but could not convert their chances. Beating England was not really a big deal – England was the “winner” of the weakest group in Euro and were probably the worst remaining team in the tournament.

Italy came out full of fire in the game against Germany, a fire that I have not seen since they played in the World Cup final in 2006. The missed goals were alarming and they need to take advantage of those types of opportunities if they want to beat Spain. Until then, Forza Azzuri.

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