FanDuel - WFBC

June 28, 2012

2 Balotelli Goals Send Italy Into Finals: Goals by Italian striker Mario Balotelli in the 20th and 36th minute helped Italy shock Germany 2-1 in the Euro 2012 semi-finals and advance to the final against Spain Sunday. A Mesut Oezil goal in added time brought Germany within one, but Italy held off their frantic comeback attempt over the final two minutes. "The German defense had appeared breachable at times during the Euro, but it took Balotelli's power, speed and skill to expose it," writes Grant Wahl.

posted by rcade to soccer at 05:36 PM - 19 comments

Are there rules for when a goalkeeper can pick up the ball in soccer inside the box?

posted by rcade at 03:12 PM on June 28

I'm not watching the game, but a keeper can't pick up the ball if it is deliberately passed to him by a teammate with his feet.

If it deflected, blocked, redirected, or headed back to a keeper by a teammate, he can pick it up.

posted by grum@work at 03:18 PM on June 28

4-4-2-Diamond against 4-2-3-1 is always interesting because you have one team with numbers in the middle who'll struggle to generate width and one team with an advantage on the flanks.

I guess the middle won today - with Ozil drifting around it was essentially four-against-two in the middle and Schweinsteiger, who's normally a good pivot man, couldn't get a sniff of the ball.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:44 PM on June 28

Are there rules for when a goalkeeper can pick up the ball in soccer inside the box?

Back-pass rule. Basically, what grum said. Speaking of goaltenders, today did nothing to affect my man-crush on Manuel Neuer. He should be a boss character in FIFA Street or something.

posted by yerfatma at 04:50 PM on June 28

Thanks. An announcer's comment made me realize I was unclear on a rule.

That was fantastic. Balotelli's second goal was an incredible strike, and he got the shot off an instant before the ball would've been kicked aside by (I think) Philipp Lahm.

I thought it was beyond stupid for Balotelli to draw an automatic yellow with his strip tease. There were 54 minutes left. One foolish challenge and Italy would've been playing a man down and he would miss the final.

posted by rcade at 05:40 PM on June 28

That was an incredible goal by Balotelli.

posted by insomnyuk at 07:02 PM on June 28

That second one I mean.

posted by insomnyuk at 07:04 PM on June 28

Take shirt off = auto yellow

Nevertheless, he looked like a bad-ass muthafucka when he did that.

I found it odd that he was so cool and unattached about winning at the end, until he went to the crowd on one side and embraced/kissed some old woman.

posted by grum@work at 07:07 PM on June 28

found it odd that he was so cool and unattached about winning at the end, until he went to the crowd on one side and embraced/kissed some old woman

His mother.

posted by tommytrump at 07:22 PM on June 28

I liked Italy's energy, strong individual challenges, quickness to the ball. I hope they can play another limber game like that against Spain.

posted by beaverboard at 07:35 PM on June 28

According to the article tommytrump linked, Mario Balotelli isn't the first member of his family to score two goals against Germany in a major tournament match. Apparently his mother did it 18 years ago:

Striker shares an emotional hug with the woman who adopted him at age three after firing two goals in a surprise semi win over Germany

posted by Hugh Janus at 07:44 PM on June 28

His mother.

Not just his mum, but his adopted mum. Which is why no matter what, I root for that guy. Also: he's scary: he isn't just a great pure striker, but he's a pretty damn good trap and wait guy. Well, basically, if Wayne Rooney were as good a holding forward as that bit of Balotelli, Engerland might still be in it.

posted by yerfatma at 07:54 PM on June 28

The Italian sporting press -- which, in Italy, is arguably the main national press -- made a very big point of celebrating Balotelli as "the pride of Italy", a not-that-implicit fuck-you to the groups of ultras who question the notion of a multiracial national side. (And someone on the Twitter machine today described him as the reincarnation of Gazza, which has something to be said for it.)

It's a football clich, but Italy start slowly in major tournaments and get progressively better, which is why you'd better knock them out early. This was not the side that played down to England's level, or the one that meandered through the group stage, and while Spain will start the final as favourites, I think the Italians might have the right combination of extremely direct attacking (crosses, longish through balls) and relatively solid defence to beat them.

posted by etagloh at 01:00 AM on June 29

described him as the reincarnation of Gazza,

One hopes not. That ends in drunkeness, madness, and your 12 year old sun going on TV and hoping you just die instead of fucking up your own life any more.

It'd be far better if he was another Cantona, and ends up being involved in odd films.

posted by rodgerd at 04:57 AM on June 29

I made a couple of comments to the wife when we were watching, which promptly "jinxed" things. I said "I am surprised that Italy isn't diving as much as I recall" only to have and Italian player dive and writhe around just before half time for 4 minutes ... and the ref only add 1 minute of time. It became the tactic at the end of the game to, whenever Germany started pressing forward, a player would stop that momentum with a well-timed dive.

I was about to rethink my hatred of the Italian side, but now I don't have to.

I also said "surprisingly there haven't been [m]any offsides," and then there were 2 or 3 in succession near the end of the match.

I will watch the final on Sunday, but I expect a lot of theatrics with these two sides, which is unfortunate. I just hope it doesn't go to penalties.

posted by scully at 07:47 AM on June 29

I also said "surprisingly there haven't been [m]any offsides," and then there were 2 or 3 in succession near the end of the match.

You'd better hope Torres doesn't get on in the finals then.

posted by yerfatma at 08:47 AM on June 29

The Italian sporting press -- which, in Italy, is arguably the main national press -- made a very big point of celebrating Balotelli as "the pride of Italy"

You say "tomato", I say . . . something offensive and then try to laugh it off.

posted by yerfatma at 09:35 AM on June 29

"The new row comes days after another Italian sports daily, La Gazzetta dello Sport, apologised for running a cartoon featuring Balotelli as King Kong."

They should put the word "apology" in quotes, because it was another one of those 21st-Century phenomenon: the non-apology-apology.

"if certain readers found the cartoon offensive..." blah, blah, blah.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:47 AM on June 29

Wanted Germany to win, but, damn if Mario Balotelli isn't a super likeable guy.

posted by josher71 at 11:36 AM on June 29

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.