Connect with us

EPL

Italy’s biblical semi-final win over Germany

Published

on


Every time I hear ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ – that most legendary of all football anthems – I am immediately reminded of Italy’s epic win over Germany at the 2006 World Cup.

I feel very lucky to have been at that Biblical encounter at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund. It’s the greatest footballing experience of my life – and I doubt it will ever be surpassed.

I travelled to Germany with my friend Giuseppe to follow Italy’s journey. We had already been at all of the Azzurri’s previous five games on route to the semi-final.

Advertisement

We had seen Daniele De Rossi rearrange Brian McBride’s face. We had been attacked by angry Aussies in the street after Fabio Grosso’s ‘dive’ in the last 16.  And we had accidentally booked a hotel bang in the middle of Hamburg’s red-light district before the quarter-final win over Ukraine. Big mistake!

But watching Italy beat Germany from Dortmund’s famed south terrace, ‘The Yellow Wall’, was naturally the most memorable encounter of all.

It was a gripping contest that ebbed and flowed for 120 mesmerising minutes. It was end-to-end stuff for much of the game – attacks against defence with gaping holes in the centre of midfield.

Italy finished the game with four attackers, had 11 shots on goal and hit the woodwork twice. Germany, meanwhile, had big chances of their own – with Gianluigi Buffon making super saves from Bernd Schneider and Lukas Podolski, who also headed a great opportunity wide too.

Advertisement

Somehow, heading into the final minute of extra time, the score was still goalless.

Italy earned a corner at the goal we were behind. I turned to Giuseppe and told him not to watch. It had become a running joke during the tournament that it was good luck when he closed his eyes. Marco Materazzi had nodded home Italy’s opener versus Czech Republic from a corner Giuseppe put his head down for. I also stopped him from watching Francesco Totti’s penalty winner versus Australia.

“For a few seconds, I felt like I was in an altered state of consciousness. We were surrounded by Germany fans and a stunned silence filled almost the entire stadium.”

Could this trick work a third time?

The corner found its way to Andrea Pirlo on the edge of the area. The Milan playmaker delivered a sumptuous no-look pass to Grosso inside the box on the right.

Advertisement

Grosso, the surprise breakout star of the tournament, whipped in a curling shot first time. As soon as he struck the ball, I immediately jumped up to celebrate. We were sat right in line, diagonally, from Grosso. It was instantly clear from the line of the shot that it was destined for the corner of the net.

For a few seconds, I felt like I was in an altered state of consciousness. We were surrounded by Germany fans and a stunned silence filled almost the entire stadium.

On the pitch, Italy players and staff celebrated as if they had just won the World Cup. Grosso raced off and mimicked his own version of ‘Tardelli’s Scream’ – the famous celebration of Marco Tardelli upon scoring Italy’s second goal in the 1982 World Cup final win over West Germany.

Italy had just seconds to hang on now. Germany poured forward looking for an equaliser. But Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro, who had put on a defensive clinic in this game with interception and block after interception and block, thwarted one last German attack. 

Advertisement

‘The Berlin Wall’, as he became known, allowed Totti and then Alberto Gilardino to set up Alessandro Del Piero to curl home a second with the final kick of the game.

Game over.

Italy 2, Germany 0.

Alessandro Del Piero, Vincenzo Iaquinta

Del Piero scored vs Germany / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

The referee blew for full time and immediately ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ was played around the stadium.

Advertisement

A very poignant song at the best of times, that was the moment it really hit home to all the Germany fans around us that their World Cup dream was over. Not just children and women but numerous grown men broke down in tears.

So did many Italians around the world, I’m sure. It had been such an emotional rollercoaster with such a dramatic ending.

Italy were now in the World Cup final. We didn’t go to Berlin as we had only bought tickets up to and including the semis. But even watching the Azzurri lift the cup couldn’t have beaten this mystical experience in Dortmund.



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

EPL

Al-Nassr offer Cristiano Ronaldo record-breaking contract

Published

on

Al-Nassr have offered Cristiano Ronaldo a contract that could make him the highest paid footballer in history, according to report.

The 37-year-old sensationally left Manchester United by mutual agreement earlier this month after he criticised the club’s players, manager and hierarchy in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

Ronaldo, who is currently away at the World Cup with Portugal, has been targeted by clubs in Saudi Arabia before, and turned down the opportunity to join Al-Hilal in the summer despite being offered over £300m to do so.

90min previously revealed that Al-Hilal were preparing a fresh offer for Ronaldo, but it’s believed they have turned their attention to Lionel Messi and other priorities – paving the way for Al-Nassr to try and engineer a move of their own.

Advertisement

Ronaldo’s current intention is to remain in Europe, where he can continue to compete in the Champions League, but sources have confirmed to 90min that Al-Nassr have put forward a blockbuster contract offer to take him to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Nassr’s offer is believed to be a three-year deal worth close to £250m a year once add-ons, incentives and bonuses are factored in – eclipsing the huge contract Kylian Mbappe penned earlier this summer to remain at Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo is yet to respond to Al-Nassr’s proposal, but his desire to continue competing at the highest level was made clear in the interview he conducted with Morgan.

Newcastle United, owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, and Chelsea are two Premier League teams to have previously been linked with Ronaldo.

Advertisement

Source link

Continue Reading

EPL

Marcus Rashford pays tribute to late friend with goal celebration

Published

on


Marcus Rashford has revealed that his celebration following his first goal against Wales was a tribute to a friend who’d recently passed away.

The Man Utd man was in electric form for the Three Lions on Tuesday evening, scoring a brace and catapulting himself to the top of the tournament goalscoring charts in the process. In scoring his second and third goal in Qatar, Rahsford became the first Man Utd player to score three goals at a World Cup for England since Sir Bobby Charlton achieved the feat way back in 1966.

Speaking after the game to the press, Rashford revealed that he pointed to the sky following his first goal in order to pay tribute to his friend who passed away following a long battle with cancer:

Advertisement

“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life.”

Rashford also gave an assessment of the game itself and his overall performance stating: “I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.

“It’s a great feeling. We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game; I thought we did it. It was just about taking the chances when they came.”

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

Advertisement

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click to download or listen to the episode in full!



Source link

Continue Reading

EPL

Tottenham ask Inter about availability of key player

Published

on


Tottenham Hotspur have made enquiries to Inter over right wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 90min understands.

Spurs are on the hunt for reinforcements at wing-back, with 90min previously reporting that one of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty could be sold in January, while a loan move for Djed Spence looks likely.

On their list of targets is Dumfries, who is currently at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Inter need to sell one star player by the end of the season to help ease their financial woes.

Advertisement

It was previously thought that Milan Skriniar would be the man to make way, but he will either sign a new contract or leave for free when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

Instead, Inter will look to sell Dumfries in January and loan him back for the rest of the season, though Spurs would push to take him off their hands straight away.

Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey in the latest episode of Talking Transfers, discussing Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview and his future, Man Utd’s interest in Cody Gakpo, plus the latest on Endrick and Rafael Leao. Available on all audio platforms.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

Advertisement

In addition to Tottenham, Chelsea are also interested in the Dutchman, and this could drive Dumfries’ price up.

Dumfries signed for Inter in 2021 as a replacement for the outgoing Achraf Hakimi, whose sale partly contributed to the exit of current Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.

He scored five goals from wing-back in his debut season at San Siro and has found the net twice more this term.





Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

Home
Live Scores
Use App
Live TV
Predictions