Four time World Cup winners Germany have progressed to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 after Joachim Löw’s side overcame Italy on penalties.
The World Cup holders looked to have secured the win in normal time after Mesut Ozil finished a slick move to give Die Manschaaf the lead with over twenty minutes remaining, but with time running out, German defender Jerome Boateng needlessly handled the ball in the box, leaving Leonardo Bonucci to level the game from twelve yards.
And as neither side could find a winner in extra time, the third quarter-final headed for penalties.
Germany missed more penalties in the shootout than in their history, but an equally poor showing from twelve yards from Antonio Conte’s side saw the Germans progress. As a result, Löw’s side remain unbeaten on penalties since losing the 1976 European final against Czechoslovakia.
Germany will now play either hosts France or England’s conquerors Iceland in the last four.
Throughout this tournament, Germany have looked like contenders to win, but faced a resilient Italian side who also harboured ambitions of winning the competition.
Germany dominated large spells of the game, but the Italians robust defending kept Löw’s side at bay, that was until Ozil capped off a well worked move for the opener mid-way through the second half.
Despite matching Germany, Italy struggled to create a decent chance to level, but were gifted the opportunity following Boateng’s handball, and they duly accepted.
Germany, usually sound when it comes to penalties, were woeful. Thomas Müller saw his effort saved by the experienced Gianluigi Buffon, before Ozil hit the post; his second penalty miss of the tournament.
Skipper Bastian Schweinsteiger, who replaced SamI Khedira early on through injury, blazed his penalty over with the opportunity to win the game, but a Manuel Neuer save gave the Germans the win.