Epic penalty shootouts send Germany back to semifinals
UEFA Euro 2016 quarterfinals: Germany 1-1 Italy (6-5 penalty shootouts)
Germany has finally overcame Italy in a major tournament. After eight consecutive failure, the Germans best Italians in thrilling penalty shootouts 6-5. Each team had the chance to qualify for the semifinals. On each side 3 out of 5 strikers missed their penalty. Goalkeepers Buffon and Neuer battled till the ninth striker when Italy missed and Germany converted.
This game showcased probably the best two defenses in the world and the first half demonstrated the physicality of the game. Most of the attacks were annihilated with only one clear chance for each side at the break. The second half was more pleasant with more spacing for the teams to develop their attacking game. Germany stroke first with Ozil and seemed to control the fate of the game but the Italians would not give up. Indeed, defender Boateng would give Italy a penalty with 10 minutes to play that Bonucci converted. The rest of the game including extra time put both teams to a halt until the shootouts.
We share the reactions of the game:
Manuel Neuer, Germany goalkeeper and Man of the Match
“I have never experienced a shoot-out like it. I think most of the Italians just aimed down the middle. The goal we conceded during normal time was a bit unlucky, but I believe we were the better side and are deservedly through.
It was something special to have so many penalty-takers and such drama! We did not manage to beat Italy in 90 minutes. We did not beat Italy in 120 minutes. That shoot-out was fitting for a duel between Italy and Germany. It wasn’t that easy. It was a battle of nerves. I did prepare, but none of their penalty takers aimed where they usually do”.
Joachim Löw, Germany coach
“It was a dramatic game, right until the last shot. I experienced something similar in 2006 in the World Cup against Argentina. It was a game on a tactically very high level from both teams. But we had the upper hand. Italy are strong through their spine and we denied them. Conceding from a penalty was a bit unlucky. I can’t imagine that Italy would have scored from open play.
Right after the World Cup it was clear to me that we would have to expand our options and not play the same way all the time – or we would be found out too easily. We have practised and played with a back three several times, in March against Italy for instance. It was no great change for the team.
France are surely favourites [against Iceland], they are playing at home, they have great individual quality. Iceland have caused an upset, they are well organised in defence, it will not be easy for France, but I think they will go through should they perform”.
Antonio Conte, Italy coach
“The fact the world champions changed their style of play to face us shows that they respected us a great deal. It was a hard game, for men, in all aspects. I’m sorry to go out like this after the lottery of penalties – and we were ahead in them until the fourth penalty – but Germany are an extremely strong side, the strongest in the world.
We believed we could do it and the disappointment at the end in the dressing room was huge. We believed in this dream and we tried with our nails, our teeth – with everything – to hang on to it. We know that football can give you satisfaction, but it can also give you bitterness.
These lads can go home content, aware of what they’ve done. They will remain in my heart. These two years have been fantastic, and I will never stop thanking these 23 lads, the staff, the kit men, everybody. It was a magic family and we’re sorry it has come to an end today”.