Germany through to last four after downing Italy
Six Bayern pros are through to the EURO 2016 semi-finals! Joachim Löw's troops downed Italy 6-5 on penalties after 120 minutes ended in a 1-1 scoreline. Germany banished a curse against the Squadra Azzurra as they have never beaten Italy in a major tournament before. The world champions cross swords with France or Iceland in the last four on Thursday. Mats Hummels will miss the encounter due to a one-match ban.
A Bayern quintet featured in the starting line-up: Manuel Neuer, Jérôme Boateng, Hummels, Joshua Kimmich and Thomas Müller played the full 120 minutes. Mario Götze failed to get off the bench this time. "We were the dominant team and have deservedly made it to the semi-finals. Now we want to go through to the final in Paris. We'll give it everything," Neuer said after the final whistle.
Löw surprised Italy with an amended tactical set-up. The head coach sent out his team in a 3-5-2 formation, opting against the usual back four in front of Neuer. A strong centre was supposed to stifle the supply to Italy's attacking unit featuring Eder and Graziano Pellè. The plan worked out for the most part in the first half. Italy only created one gilt-edged chance shortly before the break. The Germans also appeared rarely in front of goal. The 38,764 crowd in Bordeaux saw a cagey and mildly entertaining match. Only Mario Gomez and Müller had chances before the interval.
Neuer & Hector shootout heroes
The contest remained tactical, but both teams upped the pace in the second half. Germany's passing combinations were smoother now. Mesut Özil converted the dominance into a deserved lead after the hour mark. Gomez would have all but wrapped things up with his back heel three minutes later, but Gianluigi Buffon denied him with a brilliant save. Italy scored the equaliser from nowhere shortly afterwards. Leonardo Bonucci scored from the spot following Boateng's handball, sending the tie into extra time.
Both teams spent their remaining reserves of energy in the additional 30 minutes. Germany were slightly more active and dangerous, but failed to convert their dominance into goals. A total of seven players missed in the dramatic shootout that followed. Toni Kroos, Julian Draxler, Hummels, Kimmich and Boateng scored for Germany before Neuer saved against Matteo Darmian. Jonas Hector netted the last penalty, sending Germany into the last four.