Italy Beat Germany in the Old Italian Style

Italy’s defense bent a little, but never broke, and gave the Italians a 2-0 win over the hosts in extra time. The German defense looked up to the task, surprisingly. Except for a shot off the post and another off the bar in the first extra period, Italy hardly threatened.

The Italians seemed to get a corner every other minute, but would just lamely loft it right in to Lehmann every time. It took a great shot from Fabio Grosso, just a minute or so from penalty kicks, followed seconds later by the clincher by Del Piero to finally break the German hearts.

Obviously, Italy shouldn’t have wanted it to come down to penalties. Germany surely wins if they’d have just held out a few seconds longer. Italy (like England) never wins them, Germany never loses them. Italy would have had very slim hopes to finally do so in Dortmund.

You have to say it played out exactly the way the Italians would have wanted. In a defensive battle, they’d expect to be able to hang on while waiting for a lapse from Germany. It never came. In fact, Germany looked better in the back than the Italians did. It took a lightening strike to win it, that no defense was going to be able to stop.

If only Michael Ballack was as good as he thinks he is, Germany probably win easily today. He was handled effectively by Gattuso all day long. A supposedly great player, completely ineffective the entire match.

Other than him, though, the German team were great the whole tournament. Hats off to Klinsmann. The defense I thought was going to be porous, shut down everyone.

But the World Cup is going to Roma.

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