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Dortmund 3 Malaga 2 (agg 3-2) – match report

Dortmund 3 Malaga 2 (agg 3-2): Klopp's side complete stunning comeback with injury- time double

PUBLISHED:

20:41 GMT, 9 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:11 GMT, 9 April 2013

Borussia Dortmund scored two goals in injury-time to complete a stunning 3-2 comeback win against Malaga and advance to the Champions League semi-finals.

Joaquin put the visitors ahead in the 25th minute but Polish striker Robert Lewandowski brought the Germans level five minutes before the break.

Jurgen Klopp's side threw everything they had at the Spanish side in an attempt to score a second goal that would sent them through.

But Dortmund left themselves exposed at the back and Eliseu looked to have sent Malaga into the semi-finals when he turned the ball home to put his team 2-1 ahead with eight minutes to play.

However, Marco Reus and Felipe Santana both scored in injury time as Jurgen Klopp's men pulled off an incredible turnaround and book their place in the last four.

More to follow

Back from the brink: Borussia Dortmund completed a stunning comeback with two goals in injury time

Back from the brink: Borussia Dortmund completed a stunning comeback with two goals in injury time

MATCH FACTS

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Subotic, Felipe Santana, Schmelzer, Gundogan (Hummels 86), Bender (Sahin 72), Blaszcykowski (Schieber 72), Gotze, Reus,
Lewandowski.

Subs Not Used: Langerak, Kehl, Leitner, Grosskreutz.

Booked: Bender, Schmelzer.

Goals: Lewandowski 40, Felipe Santana 90, Reus 90.

Malaga: Willy, Jesus Gamez, Demichelis, Sergio Sanchez, Antunes, Joaquin (Francisco Portillo 87), Toulalan, Camacho, Duda (Eliseu 74), Isco, Julio Baptista (Santa Cruz 83).

Subs Not Used: Kameni, Lugano, Saviola, Piazon.

Booked: Jesus Gamez, Toulalan.

Goals: Joaquin 25, Eliseu 82.

Att: 65,000

Ref: Craig Thomson (Scotland).

Ahead: Joaquin gave Malaga the lead after 25 minutes in Germany

Ahead: Joaquin gave Malaga the lead after 25 minutes in Germany

Ahead: Joaquin gave Malaga the lead after 25 minutes in Germany


Away goals advantage: Joaquin's strike left Dortmund needing to score twice to advance

Away goals advantage: Joaquin's strike left Dortmund needing to score twice to advance

Reliable: Robert Lewandowski brought Dortmund level in the 40th minute

Reliable: Robert Lewandowski brought Dortmund level in the 40th minute

Reliable: Robert Lewandowski brought Dortmund level in the 40th minute

Leading from the front: Lewandowski celebrates his goal at Signal Iduna Park

Leading from the front: Lewandowski celebrates his goal at Signal Iduna Park

All over Eliseu's goal with eight minutes remaining looked to have sealed Malaga's place in the semis

All over Eliseu's goal with eight minutes remaining looked to have sealed Malaga's place in the semis

All over Eliseu's goal with eight minutes remaining looked to have sealed Malaga's place in the semis

No way back Eliseu left the German side needing to score two more goals in the closing minutes

No way back Eliseu left the German side needing to score two more goals in the closing minutes

Turnaround: Felipe Santana bundled home a winner from close range in injury time for Dortmund

Turnaround: Felipe Santana bundled home a winner from close range in injury time for Dortmund

Dubious: Santana was arguably offside when he scored from less than one yard

Dubious: Santana was arguably offside when he scored from less than one yard

Dortmund

Delight: Santana runs off in celebration of his dramatic winner

Delight: Santana runs off in celebration of his dramatic winner

Pitch invasion: Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp leaps with delight at the final whistle

Pitch invasion: Dortmund head coach Jurgen Klopp leaps with delight at the final whistle

Joy: Santana is congratulated by Dortmund players and head coach Klopp

Joy: Santana is congratulated by Dortmund players and head coach Klopp

Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Borussia Dortmund 2: match report

Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Borussia Dortmund 2: Hummels grabs late leveller for Germans

PUBLISHED:

21:38 GMT, 13 February 2013

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UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 13 February 2013

Mats Hummels headed home a late equaliser to giver Borussia Dortmund the advantage in their last-16 clash with Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine.

Douglas Costa looked to have given the home side a narrow lead with a well-taken goal in the second half before Hummels nodded in Marcel Schmelzer's corner.

Shakhtar took the lead just after the half-hour mark when Darijo Srna whipped home a free kick from 25 yards only for Robert Lewandowski to score a crucial away goal 10 minutes later.

More to follow…

Game on: Borussia Dortmund celebrate after Mats Hummel's header earned them a draw in Ukraine

Game on: Borussia Dortmund celebrate after Mats Hummel's header earned them a draw in Ukraine

Match facts

Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov, Srna, Rakitskiy, Chygrynskiy, Rat, Fernandinho, Hubschman, Alex Teixeira (Eduardo 83), Mkhitaryan, Taison (Douglas Costa 62),Luiz Adriano.

Subs Not Used: Kanibolotskiy, Stepanenko, Shevchuk, Devic, Ischenko.

Booked: Fernandinho.

Goals: Srna 31,Douglas Costa 68.

Borussia Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Piszczek, Felipe Santana, Hummels, Schmelzer, Kehl, Bender, Blaszczykowski (Leitner 80), Gotze, Reus (Schieber 90), Lewandowski.

Subs Not Used: Langerak, Subotic, Sahin, Bittencourt, Halstenberg.

Goals: Lewandowski 41, Hummels 87.

Att: 52,000

Ref: Howard Webb (England).

Curler: Darijo Srna whips a free kick over the wall and into the net to give Shakthar the lead

Curler: Darijo Srna whips a free kick over the wall and into the net to give Shakthar the lead

Curler: Darijo Srna whips a free kick over the wall and into the net to give Shakthar the lead

In front: Shakhtar celebrate after taking the lead against Borussia Dortmund in Ukraine

In front: Shakhtar celebrate after taking the lead against Borussia Dortmund in Ukraine

Equaliser: Robert Lewandowski pulls the trigger to level the score for Dortmund in Ukraine

Equaliser: Robert Lewandowski pulls the trigger to level the score for Dortmund in Ukraine

Equaliser: Robert Lewandowski pulls the trigger to level the score for Dortmund in Ukraine

Crucial: Dortmund celebrate after grabbing a vital away goal against Shakhtar in the first leg

Crucial: Dortmund celebrate after grabbing a vital away goal against Shakhtar in the first leg

Cracker: Douglas Costa looked to have won the first leg for Shakhtar when he scored in the second half

Cracker: Douglas Costa looked to have won the first leg for Shakhtar when he scored in the second half

Advantage Shakhtar: Douglas Costa celebrates after giving his side the lead against Dortmund

Advantage Shakhtar: Douglas Costa celebrates after giving his side the lead against Dortmund

Holland 0 Germany 0

Holland 0 Germany 0: Bore draw as clash of the titans fails to live up to expectations

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UPDATED:

00:04 GMT, 15 November 2012

It's supposed to be one of the biggest rivalries in world football.

But Holland versus Germany turned out to be a 90 minute snoozefest in Amsterdam last night as they played out an uninspiring goalless draw.

Maybe both sets of players had their weekend domestic fixtures on their minds – but if ever there was a clear illustration of why so many feel international friendliest are pointless exercises, this was it.

Bore draw: Per Mertesacker and Arjen Robben do battle

Bore draw: Per Mertesacker and Arjen Robben do battle

Germany tried to impose their smooth passing style on the hosts – who honoured former internationals Edgar Davids, Michael Reiziger, Patrick Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy before kick off.

In particular, Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Mario Goetze, the man Arsene Wenger dreams of signing, was enjoying plenty of the ball in the opening 15 minutes.

Tough going: Rafael van der Vaart (left) tries to inspire Holland

Tough going: Rafael van der Vaart (left) tries to inspire Holland

However, despite the wealth of
attacking talent on show at the Amsterdam Arena, former Liverpool
forward Dirk Kuyt mustered up the first opportunity of any real note
with a tame sliding effort in the 20th minute.

Everton defender John Heitinga did well to keep the shackles on Goetze a minute later as the 20-year-old tried to conjure up a yard of space to unleash an effort on goal deep inside the Dutch box before blocking Lewis Holtby's low goalbound effort from Benedikt Howedes' excellent cut-back soon after.

Heads: Mats Hummels and Dirk Kuyt

Heads: Mats Hummels and Dirk Kuyt

Arjen Robben wasted a golden opportunity to give Holland a 30th minute lead when he was sent clear through by Ibrahim Afellay – but the former Chelsea winger failed to squeeze his shot in after rounding German keeper Manuel Neuer.

Howedes and Marxo Reus both had chances to put Joachim Low's side ahead before Heitinga was forced into a superb goalline clearance from Ilkay Gundogan's low shot with the final kick of the opening half.

The second half started with the same pedestrian pace as the first, with neither side eager to impose themselves.

And no amount of encouragement from supporters spark any sort of tempo or urgency to this drabbest of matches.

In fact the first worthy attempt on goal in the second half came in the 77th minute when Neuer produced a brilliant stop low to his left, denying Dutch substitute Daryl Janmaat's low effort from the edge of the box after Kuyt's lay-off.

Eljero Elia flashed an angled effort from 16 yards wide moments later as Holland finally showed signs of life.

But it was merely a flash of entertainment as the clash ended goalless.

Euro 2012 results Germany 1 Italy 2 Mario Balotelli hits two as Azzurri set up Spain final

Germany 1 Italy 2: Magic Mario makes his mark as Azzurri extend tournament hoodoo

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UPDATED:

23:24 GMT, 28 June 2012

There could only ever be one Super Mario in this semi-final and the fact it was Balotelli and not Gomez is probably the shock of the tournament.

But what a thoroughly pleasant surprise it was to see the often troubled Balotelli finally realising his considerable potential on the international stage. It was a moment to savour and enjoy, a moment for the sporting romantics and one that reignited this competition after back-to-back goalless matches that had to be settled by penalty shootouts.

Centre of attention: Mario Balotelli rips his shirt off and poses following his crucial second

Centre of attention: Mario Balotelli rips his shirt off and poses following his crucial second

Final countdown: Italy celebrate a famous win over Germany to set up a Sunday showdown with Spain

Final countdown: Italy celebrate a famous win over Germany to set up a Sunday showdown with Spain

Fury: Thomas Muller shows his frustration as Germany crash out

Fury: Thomas Muller shows his frustration as Germany crash out

Match facts

Germany: Neuer, Boateng (Muller 71), Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Kroos, Ozil, Podolski (Reus 46), Gomez (Klose 46). Subs not used: Wiese, Gundogan, Schmelzer, Howedes, Schurrle, Bender, Mertesacker, Gotze, Zieler.

Booked: Hummels.

Scorer: Ozil (pen) 90+2.

Italy: Buffon, Balzaretti, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo (Thiago Motta 63), De Rossi, Balotelli (Di Natale 69), Cassano (Diamanti 58). Subs not used: Sirigu, Ogbonna, Abate, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

Booked: Balotelli, Bonucci, Motta.

Scorer: Balotelli 20, 36.

Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France).

Attendance: 58,500.

Balotelli frustrates the Italians at
times. It was only last summer that Fabio Capello spoke of him as some
kind of national disaster.

Even out here there have been more
fireworks. He has clashed with UEFA over racism, clashed with Cesare
Prandelli, clashed with the Irish fans.

He was once described by Jose Mourinho
as ‘unmanageable’ and there have been times this season when Roberto
Mancini must have wanted to see the back of him at City. But last night
we were given a glimpse of why Mancini and Prandelli continue to
indulge him and why he might just be worth the hassle.

‘He was excellent,’ said Prandelli.
‘Just like the entire team. A team has to have an idea how to play, and
Mario really subscribed to the ideas we had. He is unique, atypical as a
striker, but he is always there when called upon.’

‘Why always me’ asked Balotelli on
that infamous T-shirt. The Germans might well ask ‘Why always us’ when
it comes to playing Italy.

They have never beaten the Italians
in a competitive match and this time they failed to produce that same
ultra-attacking football that had proved so effective in their first
four matches.

1-0: Balotelli beats Holger Badstuber to Antonio Cassano's tempting centre

1-0: Balotelli beats Holger Badstuber to Antonio Cassano's tempting centre, beating Manuel Neuer

Hands up: Neuer was uncharacteristically slow, letting Balotelli's header past

Hands up: Neuer was uncharacteristically slow, letting Balotelli's header past

Hands up: Neuer was uncharacteristically slow, letting Balotelli's header past

They managed a consolation penalty,
converted by Mesut Ozil after Federico Balzaretti handled in added time,
but got no nearer to stopping Andrea Pirlo than England did. The
33-year-old was once again magnificent. In presenting him with the
man-of-the-match award, Peter Schmeichel described his display as ‘the
performance of the competition’.

Joachim Low asked Toni Kroos to put
some pressure on Pirlo and his efforts in doing that clearly dulled the
attacking threat that has been so central to Germany’s approach.

They were poor in defence, too.
Dreadful in fact. But the fact Low substituted both Gomez and Lukas
Podolski at half-time told its own story. ‘We lost our organisation,’
said Low. ‘We made mistakes and we lost our concentration.’

Not a prayer: Ballotelli latches on to Riccardo Montolivo's through ball to give Neuer no chance with the second

Not a prayer: Ballotelli latches on to Riccardo Montolivo's through ball to give Neuer no chance with the second

Not a prayer: Ballotelli latches on to Riccardo Montolivo's through ball to give Neuer no chance with the second

Not a prayer: Ballotelli latches on to Riccardo Montolivo's through ball to give Neuer no chance with the second

Booked: French referee Stephane Lannoy had no option

Booked: French referee Stephane Lannoy had no option

Germany did improve after the
half-time changes, and for a spell in the second half they dominated.
But Italy were a league above them last night. At the back they were
excellent, and in players like Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi they delivered
a passing masterclass — something that will certainly impress the
Spaniards.

Pirlo was a ubiquitous presence, even clearing a Mats Hummels effort off the line in the fifth minute.

But if the opening 20th minute goal
was the result of a fine piece of attacking football, the defending
would have incensed Low. It was not just the way Hummels and Jerome
Boateng allowed Antonio Cassano to slip away from them to deliver the
cross, it was the abject failure of Holger Badstuber to stop Balotelli scoring with a thumping header.

Consolation: Mesut Ozil beat Gianluigi Buffon from 12 yards to set up a nervy finish

Consolation: Mesut Ozil beat Gianluigi Buffon from 12 yards to set up a nervy finish

Consolation: Mesut Ozil beat Gianluigi Buffon from 12 yards to set up a nervy finish

This was a real test for the Germans;
the first time they had trailed in a competitive match for 1,313
minutes, or 22 hours, dating back to the third-place game at the 2010
World Cup.

Sami Khedira did force Gianluigi
Buffon to make one of a number of fine saves, but when Riccardo
Montolivo picked out Balotelli from deep inside his own half with a
terrific diagonal ball in the 36th minute another goal followed.
Balotelli took full advantage of the fact that Philipp Lahm had played
him on side by beating Manuel Neuer for a second time with a stunning
strike.

What happened Mats Hummels and Bastian Schweinsteiger (below) reflect on another German defeat at the hands of Italy

What happened Mats Hummels and Bastian Schweinsteiger (below) reflect on another German defeat at the hands of Italy

What happened Mats Hummels and Bastian Schweinsteiger (below) reflect on another German defeat at the hands of Italy

What happened Mats Hummels and Bastian Schweinsteiger (below) reflect on another German defeat at the hands of Italy

The decision to replace Podolski and
Gomez with Marco Reus and Miroslav Klose was a sound one by Low. It
improved the German team and but for Buffon, who just managed to push
the ball against his crossbar, Reus would have scored with a superb
free-kick.

Balotelli, however, was more clinical.
In explaining why he did not celebrate his penalty against England the
other night, he compared himself to a postman. He said he was simply
doing his job.

Solid defence: Germany were thwarted by the Italians

Solid defence: Germany were thwarted by the Italians

He celebrated last night, though,
stripping his shirt off and standing, muscles taut, in defiance. He was
booked, but what the hell. Here, at Euro 2012, he delivered, and at the
end he hugged his adopted mother Silvia in the crowd.

‘Us and Spain are the two best teams in the tournament,’ he said afterwards. ‘Can we win I’ll tell you on Sunday.’

Wonderful stuff.

The difference: Balotelli remonstrates with Cesare Prandelli after being substituted for cramp

The difference: Balotelli remonstrates with Cesare Prandelli after being substituted for cramp

Germany v Italy – Euro 2012 live

EURO 2012 LIVE: Germany v Italy – follow the semi-final action as it happens

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UPDATED:

19:15 GMT, 28 June 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of Euro 2012 as Germany take on England's conquerors, Italy for a place in the final when they clash in Warsaw. Having defeated the Three Lions on penalties in the quarter-finals, the Azzuri are in for a tougher test when they face Joachim Low's side. Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or contact me on Twitter @Ripinho.

Germany 0-1 Italy (7.45pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Germany: Neuer, Boateng, Hummels,
Badstuber, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Kroos, Ozil, Podolski, Gomez.
Subs: Wiese, Gundogan, Schmelzer, Howedes, Schurrle, Klose, Muller,
Bender, Mertesacker, Gotze, Reus, Zieler.

Italy: Buffon, Balzaretti, Barzagli,
Bonucci, Chiellini, Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo, De Rossi, Balotelli,
Cassano.
Subs: Sirigu, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Abate, Di Natale,
Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

Goals: Balotelli 20.

Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)

27min: Mesut Ozil tries his luck from 23 yards, but what he has in accuracy he lacks in power as Buffon dives low to his right to save.

26min: Germany with most of the ball but they have been rattled by that strike as passes are already starting to go wayward.

The closest they have come to equalising is Gomez's header which lacked power and accuracy from 16 yards.

23min: Including qualifiers, that is the first time Germany have gone behind in a European Championship game since the 2008 final.

Unfamiliar territory for Low's side.

20min: GOAL! Germany 0-1 ITALY

Credit to England, they did what the Germans couldn't do and that's stop Mario Balotelli.

Cassano wriggles his way past two defenders on the left flank before his near post cross is nodded home by the Manchester City striker, outjumping Holger Badstuber in the process.

19min: Shoot on sight from the Italians as Antonio Cassano tries his luck from a similar distance, but the Bayern Munich stopper this time dives to his left to save.

18min: Worth a go from Riccardo Montolivo, whose low strike from 25 yards is comfortably saved by Manuel Neuer, who dived to his right.

16min: From InfostradaLive:

Germany have won their previous 4 ECh matches. A win tonight would equal France's all-time record of five successive wins in a single ECh tournament (1984).

13min: Buffon has looked out-of-sorts at the start of this game.

He was at fault for the corner after five minutes and now spills a low tame Jerome Boateng cross that Andrea Barzagli clears.

The Juventus keeper makes amends though by punching clear a powerful Toni Kroos effort moments later.

11min: So now it's over 250 minutes without a goal at Euro 2012. Don't write this one off yet though – I have the feeling this is going to be a slow burner.

8min: Germany slightly edging the game so far as Italy clear another corner.

5min: Corner for Germany as Federico Balzaretti clears behind in front of Lukas Podolski.

The corner into the box nearly results in a scrappy goal, as the cross clatters off Mats Hummels' knee and past Gianluigi Buffon, but Andrea Pirlo clears off the line.

3min: Both sides feeling each other out here in a sparring session – no real pattern to the game yet.

You're not getting past: Germany's Holger Badstuber stops Italy's Andrea Pirlo in his path

You're not getting past: Germany's Holger Badstuber stops Italy's Andrea Pirlo in his path

Kick-off: Italy get us underway.

19.43: Naturally you can understand if a few players are nervous, but looking at how relaxed Mario Balotelli is, this may as well be a pre-season kick-about in Poland.

Nothing seems to get the Manchester City striker rattled…in a nervous aspect anyway.

19.40: Out come the players as Warsaw and Poland prepare for their Euro 2012 farewell.

19.37: So let's hope we get some goals this evening – we've now gone over 240 minutes since our last one.

It seems an age ago since Xabi Alonso converted a penalty against France in the quarter-final.

19.34: From InfostradaLive:

The winner of this semifinal will qualify for the Confederations Cup next year. This because finalist Spain have already qualified for the Conf. Cup as the 2010 World Cup winner.

19.29: Sportsmail's Ian Ladyman has been keeping a diary on events at Euro 2012, and here is his latest helping. It's worth reading just to see a picture of Sara Carbonero.

19.24: From InfostradaLive:

Riccardo Montolivo is the son of an Italian father and a German mother. He always plays with a small German flag stitched on his boots and on his shinpads. For tonight's match, he will only wear the German flag on one of his boots and shinpads.

You can read more about Montolivo's split loyalties here.

19.19: Check out our preview of tonight's game here, where Joachim Low at least seems confident his Germany side can finally beat Italy – explaining his team have matured since that heartbreaking defeat six years ago.

19.14: Here are the full line-ups from Warsaw. With the final in Ukraine, this is of course the final Euro 2012 match in Poland:

Germany v Italy
Germany: Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Kroos, Ozil, Podolski, Gomez. Subs: Wiese, Gundogan, Schmelzer, Howedes, Schurrle, Klose, Muller, Bender, Mertesacker, Gotze, Reus, Zieler.

Italy: Buffon, Balzaretti, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Pirlo, Marchisio, Montolivo, De Rossi, Balotelli, Cassano. Subs: Sirigu, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Abate, Di Natale, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)

Dress rehearsal: German fans (above) show off a replica trophy, while one couple will have split loyalties during the game

Dress rehearsal: German fans (above) show off a replica trophy, while one couple will have split loyalties during the game

Dress rehearsal: German fans (above) show off a replica trophy, while one couple will have split loyalties during the game

19.11: From InfostradaLive:

Germany have never won a match against Italy in 7 competitive encounters (5 WC & 2 ECh). Italy beat Germany 3 times and the other 4 matches ended in draws.

19.06: The most recent major meeting between the sides was Italy's 2-0 extra-time win in the 2006 World Cup semi-final.

Twenty four years earlier, Italy caused German heartache again at the World Cup by defeating them 3-1 in the final.

But my pick of a classic match has to be the 1970 World Cup semi-final at Mexico.

The game finished 1-1 in 90 minutes but 4-3 to Italy after extra-time – when was the last time you saw five goals in the additional 30 minutes

In the mood: A German fan shows his support before the game in Warsaw

In the mood: A German fan shows his support before the game in Warsaw

19.01: From InfostradaLive:

Philipp Lahm plays his 14th ECh match, new German record. Klinsmann, Hassler and Schweinsteiger (incl. today) played 13 matches.

18.56: The notable change for Italy is the inclusion of Giorgio Chiellini, who missed the England game through injury.

He replaces Ignzaio Abate who picked up a strain in the quarter-final victory.

18.51: Interesting team selection from Germany.

No surprise to see Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez restored to the line-up, but Toni Kroos effectively comes in for Thomas Muller – who started the first three games.

My guess is Joachim Low has charged Kroos with tracking Andrea Pirlo – all will be revealed in due course.

18.46: Italy starting XI:

Buffon, Chiellini, Balzaretti, Barzagli, Bonucci, Marchisio, De Rossi, Motolivo, Pirlo, Balotelli, Casano.

18.43: Germany starting XI:

Neuer, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Boateng, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Kroos, Podolski, Gomez.

18.40: If there is one country you would think could shake off a hoodoo against any national side, it is Germany.

But Die Mannschaft have a truly awful record against Italy – they have never beaten them in a competitive game. I've always found that a bit strange – but they have been mighty close.

18.30: Blockbuster. That's the one word that comes to my head when I think of this fixture. Portugal v Spain may have sold short last night but the Iberian derby always lacks when it comes to crunch clashes.

/06/27/article-0-13D15E37000005DC-598_634x386.jpg” width=”634″ height=”386″ alt=”Heading back: Germany's top scorer, Mario Gomez is poised to reclaim his starting spot” class=”blkBorder” />

Heading back: Germany's top scorer, Mario Gomez is poised to reclaim his starting spot

Euro 2012 results: Germany 4 Greece 2

Germany 4 Greece 2: Low's men take one step Klose to England showdown

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UPDATED:

21:07 GMT, 22 June 2012

Germany eased ominously into the semi-finals of Euro 2012 – where they will meet either England or Italy – as Greece's resistance finally crumbled.

Having set out to frustrate from the off, once they fell behind to Philipp Lahm's goal just before half-time the 2004 champions were always up against it.

On target: Klose scores in Germany's 4-2 win

On target: Klose scores in Germany's 4-2 win

MATCH FACTS

Germany: Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Reus (Gotze 80), Ozil, Schurrle (Muller 67), Klose (Gomez 79).
Subs Not Used: Wiese, Gundogan, Schmelzer, Howedes, Podolski, Bender, Mertesacker, Kroos, Zieler.

Goals: Lahm 39, Khedira 61, Klose 68, Reus 74. Greece: Sifakis, Torosidis, Papastathopoulos, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Tzavelas (Fotakis 46), Makos (Liberopoulos 71), Maniatis, Ninis (Gekas 46), Katsouranis, Samaras, Salpingidis.
Subs Not Used: Chalkias, Malezas, Mitroglou, Fortounis, Fetfatzidis,Tzorvas.

Booked: Samaras,Papastathopoulos.

Goals: Samaras 55, Salpingidis 89 pen.

Att: 43,000

Ref: Damir Skomina (Slovenia).

Having equalised somewhat
unexpectedly through Celtic forward Giorgios Samaras they could not hold
on for very long, and goals from Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Marco
Reus merely reflected the dominance of the three-time winners of this
tournament before Dimitris Salpingidis' late penalty.

On the four previous occasions
Germany have won a last-eight encounter they have reached the final, and
this performance increased the likelihood of them making it five.

For a long time in the first half it
appeared they might regret a number of missed chances, but once Lahm
broke the deadlock there was only going to be one winner.

Greece, who have now have never
beaten their opponents in nine competitive matches, scrambled, scampered
and blocked their way towards half-time only for the Germany captain to
fire home a swerving effort from outside the penalty area six minutes
before the break.

It allowed coach Joachim Low to
breathe a little easier after making four changes from the side which
beat Denmark, the most notable being handing Klose his 120th cap at the
expense of three-goal Mario Gomez.

Head boy: Klose converts from a corner to give Germany a 3-1 lead

Head boy: Klose converts from a corner to give Germany a 3-1 lead

After the Lazio striker had an early
effort ruled out for offside, when Michalis Sifakis had fumbled
Khedira's shot, Germany laid siege to Greece's goal.

Excellent movement and passing had
the Greeks manning a determined rearguard effort, but even when that was
breached Mesut Ozil shot weakly at Sifakis after being set up by the
impressive Reus, who had already sliced one shot wide.

The Low down: Germany await the winner of England's quarter final with showdown with Italy

The Low down: Germany await the winner of England's quarter final with showdown with Italy

All white on the night: Germany celebrate in front of their fans as they book their place in the semi final

All white on the night: Germany celebrate in front of their fans as they book their place in the semi final

Klose failed to get on the end of
Reus' cross-shot and Khedira had Sifakis scrambling with another shot
before Lahm made the 39th-minute breakthrough, the left-back cutting in
from an advanced position to smash in a swerving shot.

The advantage should have been much
greater, however, and Germany were made to pay 10 minutes after the
break when out of nowhere Greece equalised.

Net gains: Samaras stuns the Germans after the interval with his equaliser

Net gains: Samaras stuns the Germans after the interval with his equaliser

Blue is the colour: Greece came out fighting in the second half, celebrating Samaras' 55th-minute strike

Blue is the colour: Greece came out fighting in the second half, celebrating Samaras' 55th-minute strike

Substitute Theofanis Gekas released
Salpingidis on a quick break down the right, and when he slid over a
teasing cross Samaras poked home at the far post.

They were level for only six minutes,
though, as Khedira, Germany's supposed defensive linchpin in midfield,
timed his run from deep perfectly to volley home from Jerome Boateng's
assist.

Dancing queens: Marco Reus (left) and Jerome Boateng celebrate after winning their last-eight clash

Dancing queens: Marco Reus (left) and Jerome Boateng celebrate after winning their last-eight clash

Greek tragedy: Greece are heading home after their defeat to the Germans

Greek tragedy: Greece are heading home after their defeat to the Germans

Klose ensured the Greeks could not
produce another 2004 upset when he powered home a header from Ozil's
free-kick as Sifakis came but got nowhere near the cross, and Reus
lashed in a volley off the underside of the crossbar after Klose's shot
rebounded off the goalkeeper.

Salpingidis converted a late penalty, generously awarded for Boateng's handball, but it was little consolation.

Euro 2012: Which players would be good Premier League signings?

Come and join us: Sportsmail's experts spot the stars who could light up next season's Premier League

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UPDATED:

21:12 GMT, 15 June 2012

These 10 stars are the hot property on show at Euro 2012. Here, Sportsmail’s team of reporters, on the ground in Ukraine and Poland, identify the players Barclays Premier League scouts should be recommending to their bosses. Prepare to see one of these men at an English ground near you soon…

Ian Ladyman:

Mats Hummels (Germany)

Position: Centre back Age: 23 Club: Borussia Dortmund

Scout's report: Joachim Low’s team came into this tournament with some pundits predicting their defence would be their achilles heel. Hummels has proved them wrong so far. Schooled at Bayern Munich, but honed at Borussia Dortmund — he has just signed a new five-year contract to remain with the German champions. These days, few clubs are willing to commit for that length of time unless the player has something special. Tall, quick and mobile, he has all the attributes to play at the highest level for years to come.

Value: 20m

He'd fit in at… Arsenal, Manchester City.

Mats Hummels

Lukasz Piszczek

Mats Hummels and Lukasz Piszczek

Lukasz Piszczek (Poland)

Position: Right back Age: 27 Club: Borussia Dortmund

Scout’s report: An attacking right back, this guy is a sprinter with a footballer’s brain. Comfortable in both halves of the field, he also has the stamina and aggression necessary for the Premier League. Last season he signed a contract extension keeping him at Dortmund until 2016. While Poland’s captain Jakub Błaszczykowski and striker Robert Lewandowski have attracted most transfer speculation, Piszczek has begun to earn a lot of attention. His raids down the right are a feature of his game and his pace and touch have shone.

Value: 12m

He’d fit in at… He’s classy enough to play for Manchester United or Chelsea.

Neil Ashton:

Holger Badstuber (Germany)

Position: Centre back Age: 23 Club: Bayern Munich

Scout’s Report: An exceptional left-footed defender. Classy and composed on the ball, he has an excellent reading of the game. He started his career at full back so he can operate in wider areas. He needs to work on his finishing when he goes forward for set pieces, judging by the header he put straight at the goalkeeper in Germany’s game against Holland.

Value: 15m

He’d fit in at… Manchester United or Arsenal. His versatility would definitely be a bonus for Arsene Wenger, given the manager’s difficulties in defence last season. And you never know, he might even make compatriot Per Mertesacker look a decent player!

Holger Badstuber

Roman Shirokov

Holger Badstuber and Roman Shirokov

Roman Shirokov (Russia)

Position: Midfielder Age: 30 Club: Zenit St Petersburg

Scout’s Report: The facts behind the 30-year-old’s controversial career appear stranger than fiction. He has faked injury, argued with coaches, been reprimanded for drinking, spent some time in the army and been tossed on to the footballers’ scrapheap before working his way back up.

Converted from centre half to midfielder, he is in the best form of his life. An outspoken critic on Twitter, he even called fans of his own club ‘morons’ after they disrupted a Champions League game with firecrackers. Scored a delightful goal against the Czechs and has blossomed under Dick Advocaat.

Value: 8m

He’d fit in at… Liverpool or Chelsea

Michael Walker:

Claudio Marchisio (Italy)

Position: Midfielder Age: 26 Club: Juventus

Scout’s Report: A dynamic presence in the centre of the park, Marchisio has been with Juventus his entire career. He won his first senior cap in 2009 and has since established himself as a key member of Cesare Prandelli’s team. He played in six Euro 2012 qualifiers and grabbed a vital goal in the 1-1 draw with Serbia last October. Recognised as a quality passer of the ball, he has the nickname of Il Principino — The Little Prince — and began his career as a striker in the Juve youth team. Marchisio contributed nine League goals in the Old Lady’s march towards the Serie A title.

Value: Minimum 15m

He’d fit in at… Tottenham post-Modric, Manchester United.

Claudio Marchisio

Vaclav Pilar

Claudio Marchisio and Vaclav Pilar

Vaclav Pilar (Czech Republic)

Position: Wide midfield, winger Age: 23 Club: Wolfsburg

Scout’s Report: Scored twice already for the Czechs in the tournament. He was a lone threat against Russia but showed great willing as well as skill. At 5ft 7in, he’s called the ‘Czech Messi’ back home and has worked hard at Euro 2012 to prove he deserves such an illustrious nickname. It is known that former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is impressed by Pilar after their clubs met in the Champions League.

Value: 4-5m

He’d fit in at… Aston Villa, Sunderland.

Matt Barlow:

William Kvist (Denmark)

Position: Holding midfielder Age: 27 Club: Stuttgart

Scout’s Report: Defensive midfielders appear to be all the rage at this championship. Kvist might claim he is more than that, but there has been little doubt as to his effectiveness in Morten Olsen’s side. Like many of Denmark’s top players, he made his way to Copenhagen, although he was originally used as a right back. He made the headlines following Denmark’s opening success over Holland — claiming that he was ‘pinched’ by Mark van Bommel. It might not be too long before clubs in England are looking to do likewise.

Value: 5m

He’d fit in at… Fulham or Everton. Any team seeking a protective midfielder.

William Kvist

Mathieu Debuchy

William Kvist and Mathieu Debuchy

Mathieu Debuchy (France)

Position: Right back Age: 26 Club: Lille

Scout’s Report: When Bacary Sagna suffered a broken leg in Arsenal’s last home match of the season, football fans in France knew something the rest of us didn’t – Debuchy could play. His man-of-the-match display against England shows that Sagna has a fight on his hands to regain his position. Debuchy has played for just one club but his exposure to Champions League games this season will certainly have added to his confidence and value.

Value: 8m

He’d fit in at… Newcastle lead the chase, but most big clubs with attacking full backs will fancy him.

Colin Young:

Ivan Rakitic (Croatia)

Position: Midfielder Age: 24 Club: Sevilla

Scout’s Report: Ireland could not live with Luka Modric’s positioning and slick passing once he shifted through the gears in Poznan on Sunday night. And it was Rakitic who benefited most from the Irish team’s inability to hinder Modric’s freedom. Either taking up wide positions on the right or slipping into dangerous positions behind Stephen Ward, the Sevilla midfielder created all sorts of problems with his Beckham-style crossing. He’s not a conventional winger but certainly a player who would not look out of place in the Premier League.

Value: 7m

He’d fit in at… Would certainly do a job at Manchester United or Arsenal.

Ivan Rakitic

Alan Dzagoev

Ivan Rakitic and Alan Dzagoev

Alan Dzagoev (Russia)

Position: Forward Age: 21 Club: CSKA Moscow

Scout’s Report: Joint top scorer at Euro 2012 after three goals in Russia’s two games, Dzagoev is definitely on the radar of Europe’s top clubs now. But anyone who saw Russia’s qualifying campaign would know that the energetic forward is a skilful player who possesses the ability to divide defences and who can score a goal, too. Playing in that difficult-to-mark role behind the strikers, he is Arshavin with attitude — and his Russian advisers were putting his name to the big guns before the tournament.

Value: 15m and increasing

He’d fit in at… Already watched extensively by Arsenal.

Germany 1 Portugal 0: Mario Gomez scores the winner

Germany 1 Portugal 0: Gomez takes his time but eventually delivers to solve close battle

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UPDATED:

21:09 GMT, 9 June 2012

Mario Gomez scored a magnificent header as Germany battled their way past Portugal to make a winning start to their Euro 2012 campaign.

Portugal's defensive obduracy had frustrated Germany for 72 minutes and Gomez was about to be substituted when he planted Sami Khedira's cross past goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

Suddenly faced with chasing the game, instead of settling for the bore draw, Portugal brought Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani into the game and laid siege on the German goal.

Super Mario: Mario Gomez celebrates after netting the only goal of the game

Super Mario: Mario Gomez celebrates after netting the only goal of the game

Take that: Gomez powers his header home

Take that: Gomez powers his header home

MATCH FACTS

Germany: Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Muller (Bender 90), Ozil (Kroos 87), Podolski,
Gomez (Klose 80)

Subs Not Used: Wiese, Gundogan, Schmelzer, Howedes, Schurrle, Mertesacker, Gotze, Reus, Zieler
Booked: Badstuber, Boateng
Goals: Gomez 72

Portugal: Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Bruno Alves, Pepe,
Fabio Coentrao, Meireles (Varela 80), Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Nani,
Postiga (Nelson Oliveira 70), Ronaldo.

Subs Not Used: Eduardo, Custodio, Almeida, Quaresma, Ricardo Costa,
Rolando, Ruben Micael, Miguel Lopes, Hugo Viana, Beto

Booked: Postiga, Fabio Coentrao.

Att: 33,951

Ref: Stephane Lannoy (France)

In a barnstorming finish, German
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer brilliantly denied Silvestre Varela to seal the
victory as Joachim Low's men made a successful start to their quest for a
first European crown since 1996.

Germany featured seven Bayern Munich
players, all of whom will have felt a daunting sense of deja vu in the
first half as Portugal set themselves to soak up the pressure.

Chelsea beat Bayern in the Champions
League final a matter of weeks ago using exactly the same,
backs-to-the-wall style that some would describe as anti-football.

Although Portugal started with
Ronaldo, who has scored 112 goals in 101 appearances for Real Madrid,
and Nani they set themselves up to nullify Germany and play for the
draw.

Mesut Ozil was the Germany's main
attacking threat and the three-times European champions came close to an
early goal with a header from striker Mario Gomez.

Helder Postiga won a corner after a
run from Fabio Coentrao but Portugal were sitting so deep they lacked
any real fluidity in attack. Ronaldo was a spectator for most of the
first half.

Stepover king: Cristiano Ronaldo was frustrated by the German defence

Stepover king: Cristiano Ronaldo was frustrated by the German defence

Thomas Mueller picked out
Arsenal-bound Lucas Podolski, who tried a low first time shot with the
outside of his right foot that was easily saved.

Pereira did well to close down Ozil,
who had jinked his way into the Portugal box after being released by his
Real Madrid team-mate.

Close shave: Pepe's effort hit the bar and bounced out (below)

Close shave: Pepe's effort hit the bar and bounced out (below)

Not a goal

After 44 minutes of German dominance it was Portugal who created the best chance of the first half.

Defender Pepe made space in the box
with a delightful first touch and then curled a delightful shot over
Holger Badstuber and on to the underside of the bar.

The ball crashed down onto the line and away. It was a close escape for Germany.

Meireles made two important blocks
after the restart but Portugal did offer more in attack in the second
half, with Nani beating Philipp Lahm before whipping in a cross.

The ball fell to Ronaldo in the box after a driving run from Coentrao but he was denied by Boateng's perfectly-timed block.

Struggle: Nani found it difficult to make his mark

Struggle: Nani found it difficult to make his mark

Pulling the strings: Mesut Ozil

Pulling the strings: Mesut Ozil

With Germany unable to break the
deadlock, Low was just about to take off Gomez when the Bayern Munich
striker scored with a brilliant header.

Gomez rose to meet Khedira's cross from the right and directed his downward header back across goal and inside the far post.

Low reacted by instructing Miroslav
Klose to sit back down and Gomez almost had a second as he galloped
unmarked into the box but Mueller's cross was just ahead of him.

Not this time: Raul Meireles' attempted tackle is easily evaded

Not this time: Raul Meireles' attempted tackle is easily evaded

Portugal had to up their attacking game and threatened more in the final 10 minutes than they had in the previous 80.

Coentrao had an effort that was deflected just over the bar before Nani's cross dipped on to the bar and away.

Nelson Oliveira pulled the ball back
for Varela inside the Germany box but Neuer was off his line in a flash
and blocked the shot.

Ronaldo then picked out Nani but the Manchester United forward saw his shot deflect behind off Badstuber as Germany hung on.

Beaten to it: Ronaldo and his side came off second best

Beaten to it: Ronaldo and his side came off second best

Delight: Germany celebrated their narrow win

Delight: Germany celebrated their narrow win

EURO 2012: Philipp Lahm to play left-back against Portugal

Germany to deploy captain Lahm at left-back to counter Ronaldo threat

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UPDATED:

12:42 GMT, 7 June 2012

Germany manager Joachim Low has revealed he will deploy his captain Philipp Lahm at left-back in an attempt to shackle Cristiano Ronaldo in their opening game against Portugal on Saturday.

Lahm prefers to play right-back – as he is naturally right-footed and plays there for club side Bayern Munich – but he is comfortable switching flanks.

Food for thought: Lahm (centre) is set to start at left-back for Germany

Food for thought: Lahm (centre) is set to start at left-back for Germany

Dangerman: Low hopes Lahm can shackle Ronaldo

Dangerman: Low hopes Lahm can shackle Ronaldo

Although the Germans head into the tournament as second-favourites behind Spain, their back four has not been settled since the 2010 World Cup and they conceded five in a defeat to Switzerland last month.

But Low is confident that Lahm's inclusion on the left will benefit his side, although he admitted he is not sure who his right-back will be.

'It is very good for us that Philipp will play on the left,' Low told said.

'On the right one alternative is Jerome Boateng but Lars Bender has been very good in training in that position. I like him there.'

Boateng plays at centre-back for Bayern but is the favourite to feature at right-back, while Bender is naturally a defensive midfielder.

Although the full-back position are unsettled, Low has a settled centre-back pairing of Dortmund's Mats Hummels and Bayern's Holger Badstuber as he prepares his side to take on Ronaldo and Co.

Barcelona eye Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen

Barcelona switch attention to Arsenal defender Vermaelen after reaching Silva impasse

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UPDATED:

10:39 GMT, 5 June 2012

Barcelona are considering a bid for Thomas Vermaelen after hitting a brick wall in attempts to sign Thiago Silva from AC Milan.

Nou Camp boss Tito Vilanova made
Silva his top central defensive target but the Catalans set aside less
than 30million for the deal – while sources in Italy claim Milan have
already turned down a 32.5m bid from Paris Saint-Germain.

Target: Barcelona are considering Thomas Vermaelen to bolster their defence

Target: Barcelona are considering Thomas Vermaelen to bolster their defence

The impasse has forced Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta to consider alternatives with his technical staff.

Chelsea defender David Luiz – Silva's Brazil team-mate – has long been the second choice.

However, despite the 25-year-old being open to a move, Zubizarreta fears he will be just as difficult to prise from Stamford Bridge.

A list of targets Barca feel they could land includes Arsenal defender Vermaelen, despite his recent insistence that he would 'stay at Arsenal forever'.

The Belgian especially fits the bill because of his ability to also play at left back and in midfield, but Arsenal are likely to resist any approach.

Deadlock: Barcelona have hit brick wall over Thiago Silva

Deadlock: Barcelona have hit brick wall over Thiago Silva

Other options – according to El Mundo Deportivo – include Ajax defender Jan Vertonghen, but the 25-year-old is close to clinching a move to Tottenham.

Scouts have also recommended Borussia Dortmund duo Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic, as well as Lyon's Dejan Lovren.