A tied match in regulation time would not necessarily surprise anyone who has watched German- Italian match ups. However, the penalty kicks in this match were a big surprise – and not a pleasant one!
July 2, 2016
Nouveau Stade Bordeaux
Germany 1- 1 Italy
Germany wins 6-5 on Penalties
Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini (Zaza, 120’), Parolo, Florenzi (Darmian, 86’) Sturaro, Giaccherini, De Sciglio, Pelle, Eder (Insigne, 108’)
Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Howedes, Kimmich, Khedira (Schweinsteiger 14’), Kroos, Hector, Mueller, Ozil, Gomez (Draxler, 72’)
The match that was predicted as the dream final two matches early did not live up to the hype. However, before the match started, there was a touching moment of silence (or rather in the Italian tradition of applause) for the victims of the horror in Dhaka. Nine Italians died and the Azzurri wore black armbands in their honor.
The match began with some muscle flexing by both teams. De Sciglio, Giaccherini, Kimmich and Hummels were all testing the waters and the defenders on both sides. However, it soon settled into some cagey, tentative play in midfield. Khedira had a groin issue or perhaps flare up of a previous thigh issue and was subbed for Schweinsteiger in the 14th minute. Eder had to come off briefly for a bloody nose after an elbow from Jerome Boateng. Nothing malicious there.
Around the half hour mark, we had a little bit of excitement. Schweinsteiger had a lovely header into goal but it was called off due to his foul on De Sciglio. It was a good call but the header was quite pretty. A few minutes later, Italy had another scare when Buffon had a rough time with a Hector cross. Luckily for Italian hearts, Gigi got it seconds before Mario Gomez did.
Some nervous moments for both sides came before half time but neither scored. Half time commentators all seemed shocked by the play but I found it rather predictable. In German Italian matches, play does tend to be cautious at best. True to form, the Italian defense was rock solid but their midfield possession left a lot to be desired. Germany gave Italy a lot of respect – too much so.
And the second half really took up where the first left off. Only in the 54th minute did some sparks fly. Florenzi lost possession, which allowed for a German counter. Mueller had a powerful blast towards goal, which Florenzi saved in some dramatic fashion. It may or may not have been on target but it was a piece of brilliant defending, even if he himself caused the drama.
The deadlock was finally broken when Mesut Ozil scored. Gomez had a nice pass to Hector whose shot was deflected. Ozil found it and volleyed it into the net in the 65th minute.
But Italy came back with a rather strange penalty. Jerome Boateng was called on a very obvious handball. He had his hand straight in the air and Twitter went alive with scouting tips for the NBA. However, the Guardian reported a comment made by Gianluca Vialli. Vialli implied that perhaps Boateng had his hands in the air to prove to the ref that he was not pushing Chiellini and instead the ball hit his hand and gave up the penalty anyway. I have to say, it’s the only thing that would make sense. Boateng is WAY too experienced to make that kind of error. In any case, Bonucci took the cheeky penalty, as cool as you like and the game was tied in the 77th minute.
Here’s a youtube clip for both goals:
More often than not, extra time is dreadfully boring as teams are ridiculously cautious and afraid of going out on a stupid goal. (Personally, I’d prefer that to penalties but that’s for another day.) However, for this period of extra time there was my absolutely favorite part of the entire match. Chiellini and Muller had a war of words and basically Muller accused Chiellini of being a baby…which to me is funny beyond words. Our dear Lozil agreed with me and scoffed at the idea of Chiellini being concerned with a scolding by Muller. As she said “Yelling at Chiellini like that would scare him? Pfft. He’s been bitten by Suarez.” Well said, Lozil. Well said. But what amused me the most was when Buffon came over to smooth things over.
And this tweet by Eliza Eaton-Stern says it perfectly:
And as you would expect, we went to penalties. I hate penalties and would normally not even comment. However, this was the worst set of penalties I’ve ever seen. Normally, penalties are duels between keepers. This should have been the case between the mighty keepers of Buffon and Neuer. But, this shootout was bizarre at best and beyond awful if truth is told.
Italian Zaza, who was brought on specifically for penalties, sent his into orbit. Mueller’s was no better. Ozil hit the post and Pelle went wide. Bonucci’s was saved and Schweinsteiger missed. Darmian had miss written all over his body even on his walk up and miss he did.
Here’s the record if you are keeping score from first to last:
De Sciglio scores
Germany go through to meet either France or Iceland in the semis.
What a weird match.