Late, late goals send Italy to World Cup final
Updated: 2006-07-05 06:22
DORTMUND, July 4 - Fabio Grosso and Alessandro del Piero grabbed two
goals in the final two minutes of extra-time to puncture the German World Cup
party and send Italy into the final 2-0.
penalty shootout looming, Grosso curled a fantastic left foot drive into the
corner and as Germany desperately searched for a late equaliser, substitute Del
Piero broke free to guide in the killer second.
|Italy's Fabio Grosso (L) scores his team's first goal against
Germany during their World Cup 2006 semi-final soccer match in Dortmund
July 4, 2006. [Reuters]
Germany had been seeking their eighth appearance in the final where Italy
were hoping for a sixth -- both countries having won the trophy three times.
The game began at a terrific tempo and it rarely dropped as each side passed
sharply and went forward probing for openings.
Generally, however, the defenders were able to resist most forays, with
captain Fabio Cannavaro again masterful at the heart of Italy's back four and
Italy's Simone Perrotta and Germany's Bernd Schneider missing the best of the
few first-half chances.
The end-to-end approach continued after the break though neither side were
able to muster the necessary precision to force the goalkeepers into serious
action and Sebastian Kehl, in for the suspended Torsten Frings, and Italy's
Gennaro Gattuso were both dominant in screening their defences.
Gianluigi Buffon did have to move sharply to end a Miroslav Klose run and
then block a sharp shot on the turn by Lukas Podolski as the home side began to
turn the screw midway through the second period.
Coach Juergen Klinsmann threw on wide midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and
David Odonkor but neither man was able to make the difference and the game went
Germany had never beaten Italy in their four previous competitive matches
including the 1982 World Cup final, but in the plus column they had never lost
in Dortmund, winning 13 and drawing one of their 14 games there over 71 years.