The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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- First semi-final

Dortmund: Italy stunned Germany 2-0, in the closing stages of extra-time, to book a place in Sunday’s World Cup final in Berlin.

Fabio Grosso scored with some three minutes to go and, even as the Germans were trying to recover from that shock, substitute Alessandro del Piero banged in one more.
Earlier, the teams were locked 0-0 after 90 minutes.

Germany had more of the chances at the stadium in Dortmund, where the national team has 13 wins and one draw.

Miroslav Klose, the tournament’s leading scorer with five goals, dribbled through three Italians before falling in the penalty area early in the second half.

Gianluigi Buffon made a two-handed save on Lukas Podolski’s turnaround left-footer from close range, then Arne Friedrich shot over the net. As Italy tired, Germany kept coming.

But the Italians had allowed only an own-goal against the United States in five games, and their technique carried them even when their legs didn’t want to.

Captain Michael Ballack put a 19-metre free-kick from the middle over and wide in the 82nd, and goalkeeper Jens Lehmann made a punchout save with Simone Perrotta going for Francesco Totti’s pass in the box in the 84th.

Italian defenders seemed to materialise from nowhere to block shots and clear other balls when the Germans pressed the attack. Even in the air, where Germany had a decided height edge, Italy more than held their own.

Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro was everywhere in the first half. His sliding clearance of a loose ball in the box in the 15th minute came with three Germans pursuing the ball, and he did it again to Podolski in prime scoring range moments later.

Still, Germany got their opportunities. Podolski shot over the net from 18 metres and Bernd Schneider, alone on the right side from 12metres, barely put one over the crossbar.

Italy’s strategy of lobbing the ball over the huge German defense yielded few threats, but Perrotta broke in on left wing in the 16th. Lehmann came out to meet him and saved Perrotta’s weak shot.

The crowd, which is right on top of the action at the Stadium, didn’t seem to bother the visitors. It was Mexican referee Benito Archundia who heard the fans’ whistles most when he gave Borowski a yellow card for a dangerous tackle in the 40th.

Juergen Klinsmann made two changes in Germany’s starting line-up to replace suspended midfielder Torsten Frings, and defender Marco Materazzi returned for Italy.
Sebastian Kehl took the place of Frings, while Borowoski came in for midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. Schweinsteiger had a below-par performance against Argentina in the quarter finals, while Borowski, who plays for Werder Bremen, has been strong coming off the bench.

Frings has been one of the key players in helping the Germans to five straight victories at the tournament, but the 29-year-old was banned on Monday after video evidence prompted Fifa to investigate his involvement in a post-match melee with Argentina.
Meanwhile, just hours before the match, an Italian prosecutor asked a sports tribunal to demote Juventus to Serie C or lower and strip the team of the Serie A titles it won in the past two seasons.

Prosecutor Stefano Palazzi also asked the sports trial into Italy’s match-fixing scandal at the Olympic Stadium to relegate AC Milan, Fiorentina and Lazio to Serie B.

Along with the demotions, Palazzi requested the teams be docked points next season: six for Juventus, three for AC Milan, and 15 for Lazio and Fiorentina.

The Italian World Cup squad has 13 players in all from these four clubs.


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