PARIS — Germany defeated Italy 6-5 in a marathon shootout featuring 18 penalties to finally end their curse against their old rivals in major tournaments and reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals on Saturday.
Germany will now face the winners of the other quarter-final between hosts France and Iceland, who play on Sunday.
The first half was as strained, strategic and cagey as expected between two teams who had only conceded one goal between them so far in the tournament.
After a tense, tactical battle ended 1-1 after extra time, Germany missed three spot kicks but still progressed courtesy of even more wayward shooting by their opponents who failed to convert four of their penalties.
Both sides began with three-man defences, although Italy also pulled wing backs Alessandro Florenzi and Mattia De Sciglio into the back line every time they sensed danger.
Jonas Hector had the honour of sending Germany through by putting away their ninth kick but even his effort only just made it under Gianluigi Buffon’s dive.
Germany coach Joachim Loew said: “I congratulated him (Hector). It was a very special situation. I had a good feeling when he was taking his (penalty) shot.”
Mesut Ozil had given Germany the lead midway through the second half before Leonardo Bonucci replied with a penalty following a bizarre handball by Jerome Boateng.
Germany, who reached their sixth successive semi-final in a major tournament, had never previously beaten Italy at a major finals – a run stretching back to the 1962 World Cup.
Italy’s four wins included a World Cup final and two semi-finals and the Euro 2012 semis. The other four games were drawn.
It took 42 minutes for either side to produce a genuine chance but Germany forward Thomas Mueller, usually deadly in front of goal, scuffed his shot and Buffon saved easily.
Germany’s passing was slicker and they broke through in the 65th minute when Hector’s pass into the area was deflected off Bonucci and fell perfectly for Ozil to guide into the net.Follow @gorkhapost
Bakar-Eid being celebrated
POKHARA — The Muslim people people are celebrating their grand festival, Bakar Eid, with much fanfare today.
The festival which is to be continued for three days from today is also known as ‘Eid-Ul-Juha’. The Muslim community considers this as a festival of devotion.
Ali Miya Literary Foundation, Pokhara Chairperson and religious preacher Hanif Miya informed that the festival marked the beginning with the recitation of Islam scripture Nawaz at Idgaha of Pokhara in the early morning today.
The Muslim people who are almost 10,000 in number in Pokhara alone are marking the festival with much excitement, he added.
The Muslims visit the mosques, offer prayers to Allah, perform the Namaj prayers and exchange greetings each others on the occasion.Follow @gorkhapost