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.
PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team
KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.
PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.
Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.