Once again Germany exits in the semi final stage and once more to a familiar opponent. Tactically outwitted by a smarter team combined with individual mistakes and ultimately poor cohesion in the final third, Germany have nobody to blame but themselves. Here are the ratings for the match.
Manuel Neuer, goalkeeper 3: He could not necessarily have done better for the two goals as he was once again let down by those ahead of him. Had one nervous moment in which he almost ruined an easy clearance but made the effort to get the ball forward as quickly as possible in the latter stages of the game.
Jerome Boateng, right back 4: Moved out of position in the early stages of the game which ensured Hummels would cover him enough to drag the central defender out of position. One the second occasion it resulted in Italy’s first goal. He regularly made runs into Italy’s half but failed to look threatening bar one cross. He symbolizes Germany’s reluctance to play with modern fullbacks who consistently cut into the center instead of rely on direct wide play.
Mats Hummels, centre back 3.5: Hummels started brightly and looked to handle Balotelli rather well until the Italian moved between the defenders constantly causing confusion and trouble, ultimately getting the better of them. Once more we are witness to how young this pairing is and it raises the question that if the manager played these two together a lot more, would we see the same lapses so frequently?
Holger Badstuber, centre back 4: Similarly out-matched for most of the match, he was caught wide and off-pace on several occasions. Out-jumped by Balotelli for Italy’s first goal and failed to deal with the pace of the Italian forwards.
Philipp Lahm, left back 3.5: As with Boateng, he failed to do what he was so good at against Greece, that is bombing forward, linking up and cutting in. His miss at the beginning of the second half was a one-off as he retreated for the rest of the match. This of course also raises the question stated above. Why doesn’t he
Bastian Schweinsteiger, holding midfielder 4.5: There was a lot of doubt whether he would recover form ahead of the tournament. He was showing signs of fitness in the first match and thrived in his second but as the tournament went on it was his lack of match fitness which was revealed more and more. Against Italy he had another poor display given the ball away on several occasions and just being a bit off pace. It reveals the reliance on him to be a calming factor in the midfield. When he is off, Germany look off and more vulnerable.
Sami Khedira, holding midfielder 2.5: His most subdued performance although making two of the best plays in the match with his first half run and long distance shot that was superbly saved by Buffon. Arguably Germany’s stand out player this tournament it was a shame to see him fail to get the support of those around him.
Toni Kroos, central midfielder 3: Brought in to stifle Italy’s three man midfield, Kroos looks visibly lost at times mainly because of lack of support from those around, particularly Schweinsteiger.. More disciplined to play in the center as he displayed in the Champions League semi final against Real Madrid, he needed to rely on the system to click to fully function. A rather unfortunate set of circumstances befell his appearance.
Mesut Özil, central attacking midfielder 2.5: Once again the critics will be coming down on the Madrid man as he failed to weave enough magic to get Germany forward and for missing a golden opportunity. However much of the criticism has to be directed at the manager for consistently setting up a system which relies on his services so much. Apart from Marco Reus, he is the only player willing to move laterally across the field and find open spaces. He consistently dragged the Italians around and opened up chances. On top of that he scored a late consolation goal.
Lukas Podolski, left winger 4.5: Many questions were raised when Löw announced Podolski would start. He has been fairly absent for most of the tournament bar a rather fortunate goal against Denmark, his contributions otherwise have left a lot to be desired. For someone of his experience his contributions so far have been rather dire, none moreso than today, in such a crucial encounter. This begs the question of what will happen to a player the manager has put so much trust in, especially with the likes of Reus and Schürrle coming into the team and showing a great deal of promise.
Mario Gomez, striker 4.5: Another questionable performance by someone who started the tournament in a promising manner. His inclusion was possibly meant to put off the Italian defenders with his physique. No doubt the manager had a lot of trust in him but similarly to Bayern’s performances this season, it’s a hit of miss situation when Gomez plays because he demands so much attention from the set-up he is in. Off the ball he will run hard but doesn’t seem to show the know-how to move proactively and his touch is too inconsistent. His best contribution came when he held the ball up for Mesut Özil. He of course will raise the important question of how Germany will move forward with their strikers.
Thomas Müller, right winger 3.5: Provided a slightly more proactive approach but ultimately failed to settle into the match or provide any threat against an excellent Chiellini.
Miroslav Klose, striker 3.5: Provided the expected link-ups on occasion but was closed out and handled rather well by an extremely well organized Italian defense. As with Gomez, his performances and place in the team will come under scrutiny after the tournament and whether he will keep a place in the team.
Marco Reus, right winger 3: The most active substitute made his mark right away with well timed runs. He also had a brilliant free kick saved equally well by Buffon. He will pose the question of why he didn’t start from the get-go, arguably a tactical mistake by Löw. Still he had a very good tournament in the time he was given.
Gianluigi Buffon, goalkeeper 2: An excellent overall performance by the veteran goalkeeper who is quickly cementing his place for goalkeeper of the tournament. Made remarkable saves against Khedira and Reus that could have possibly altered the course of the match.
Giorgio Chiellini, left back 2: Questions were raised about his fitness in the tournament and whether he would be able to continue. His return to the team was a welcome one and a typically strong one from the Juventus man. Slotting into the left back position he played for most of his club season he effectively dealt with Boateng and Müller as well as add support to a well organized defense.
Federico Balzaretti, right back 2.5 Slotting into a position unnatural to him, Balzaretti remains one of the understated players of the tournament. Known for his attack minded play for his club, he has put in an excellent defensive shift this tournament, this match not withstanding.
Leonardo Bonucci, centre back 2.5 Similarly to the rest of the defense, he continues his excellent partnership with his club teammate.
Andrea Barzagli, centre back 3 Familiar with some of the German players from his time at Wolfsburg, the Juventus he remains at the center of the Juventus-centric core of this Italian side.
Claudio Marchisio, central midfielder 3 Exploded into action late into the game with excellent runs forward, he energetic play ensured Germany would continue to play on the back foot for most of the second half and made it extremely dangerous to turn over possession.
Daniele de Rossi, holding midfielder 2 Closed down the space in which Mesut Özil operated and always looked to create space for his teammate Pirlo, the Roma utility man put in an outstanding shift making three key interceptions and committing only one foul the entire match.
Andrea Pirlo, holding midfielder 2.5 A more dubdued but nontheless important performance from the age-less Juventus midfielder. He was the reason Löw altered his formation before the match but it ultimately failed as Pirlo still managed to complete 60 out of his 65 passes finishing with a completion rate of 92%, completeing all of his ten passes in the attacking third.
Riccardo Montolivo, central attacking midfielder 3 More or less played his part in trying to disrupt the space just ahed of the Germany penalty area and fed Cassano and Balotelli on occasion.
Antonio Cassano, forward 2.5 Cassano did brilliantly to trouble Mats Hummels in his time on the pitch and always looked for his striker partner Balotelli. There is a reason Prandelli has put so much trust in him and in this match it was evident what the Milan man can give to a team creatively.
Mario Balotelli, striker 1.5 After a mature performance against England in the previous round, this was arguably his best performance in an Italy shirt, this match marks his arrival on the international stage. A brilliant run into the box ensured his scored early to unsettle the German defense and made an equally brilliantly timed run for his second goal. Likely to get best young player of the tournament, and with merit.
Thiago Motta, holding midfielder 3.5 Brought on to secure the lead he committed two necessary fouls and received a yellow card.
Antonio di Natale, striker 3.5 Had a few excellent chances to put the game away for good but failed. Arguably he could have done better. Still he provided trouble for the German defense as he was always willing to quickly run at them.
Alessandro Diamanti, forward 2 He is quickly turning out to be one of the best tactical choices off the bench. Brilliant against the English running at the defense and creating chances. His workrate was outstanding and he always positioned himself at the edge of the box to quickly collect the ball and counter. A huge reason why this Italian side has been so functional this tournament. Likely to play a similar role in the final.
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