Italy knocks out Germany in overtime semifinal |

Italy knocks out Germany in overtime semifinal

Italy proved to the world yesterday that it possesses more than a slippery ability to manipulate referees, as it ripped a hole through Germany late in the semifinal from Dortmund.

After a brilliant one-time finish by Fabio Grosso knocked the Germans on their heels, Alessandro Del Piero nailed the spike through the hearts of millions of Germans with a clinical ball past the outstretched arms of Jens Lehmann.

By number of chances, it was Italy that took the overtime with back-to-back shots coming off the post of Germany’s goal.

For the rest of the game, soccer fans saw the play run back and forth, with quality chances on both sides and some stellar defensive efforts.

Both Lehman and Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had stellar saves of all kinds. Each blocked a breakaway, each blocked a handful of short-range rockets and each controlled the air space in their box.

With the back lines of both teams operating like walls, and the individuals in those walls allowing nothing, it was not an offensive game.

However, it was Mexican referee Benito Archunda who shined through.

For the first time in this World Cup, a referee has officiated an entire game without influencing it or making any suspect, game-changing calls.

Because of that, Italy was forced to play and leave the more theatrical side of its game behind.

And against a strong young German team that had been on fire ” until the 118th minute of the game ” the Italians showed that they do have the talent and fire to outplay anyone.

By measure of run of play, Italy did not necessarily outplay the Germans. However, the Italians managed to knock off one of the best penalty shootout teams in the world before reaching a shootout.

In an otherwise even game, it was Italy that managed two flawless finishes.

End of story.

For most people, this means that yet another prediction has missed its mark.

After watching Brazil lose to a very talented French squad, for home team Germany to go down to an Italian side that had managed to not prove itself until the semifinal shouldn’t be shocking.

But for some reason it is.

Both France and Portugal boast strong teams and flair-filled talent. So no matter which team takes today’s semifinal, it should make a good match for the Italians.

And despite being somewhat unexpected, the final still promises to be a game worthy of the glorious gold cup it earns.

Alex Close is a sportswriter with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

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