advertising
Link to jump to start of content The Seattle Times Company Jobs Autos Homes Rentals NWsource Classifieds seattletimes.com
Sports

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Print

World Cup: Amoré for Italia

AP Sports Writer

DORTMUND, Germany — For nearly two hours, Germany probed, Italy held firm and penalty kicks seemed inevitable.

Then with two stunningly swift strikes in the last two minutes, Italy unraveled it all — the tension, the match, the Germans' dream of lifting the World Cup trophy in Berlin.

First came the left-footed shot that Fabio Grosso twisted into the far side of the net in the 119th minute. Then Alessandro del Piero clinched the 2-0 win a minute later with a counterattacking goal as the Germans pressed frantically to equalize.

"Italy deserved to win," Italy coach Marcello Lippi said. "We controlled the play more than Germany did and, in the end, we got these two great goals, which allowed us to avoid the roulette of a penalty shootout."

A good idea, considering Germany historically is masterful at shootouts and the Italians abysmal.

Tuesday's win came as scandal tears apart the national sport back home. But an investigation into match-fixing has not proven a distraction — the Italians keep plowing through soccer's premier event, allowing only a single own-goal in six games.

Now the Italians head to Berlin for Sunday's final in search of their fourth title. They will play the winner of today's Portugal-France match.

Today

Portugal vs. France, 11:55 a.m.

(ESPN, UNIV).

"We have a great group," Grosso said. "We've beaten some very good teams."

Not least Germany, a squad that was supposed to be too young and inexperienced to challenge for this trophy, yet performed superbly.

In handing the Germans their first loss in 15 games at Dortmund, the Azzurri also remained undefeated in five World Cup meetings with Germany — this was their third win to go with two draws. Italy is unbeaten in 24 games since October 2004.

The swift end to this one was stunning. Germany had pressured for the game's last hour and slowly stretched the tight Italian defense.

As Italy tired, Germany captain Michael Ballack directed the attack. The Germans found room where before there was none, creating space — and chances.

In the 63rd minute, Lukas Podolski received the ball with his back to the goal, then turned and fired. Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon parried ball and Arne Friedrich rocketed a rebound shot over the bar.

But by the beginning of extra time, it was Italy threatening, once hitting the post, once the crossbar.

Then, out of nowhere, came the deciding goal.

Italy's reserves rushed onto the field after Grosso took a tap pass from Andrea Pirlo in the box and curled his shot beyond the leaping reach of goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and just inside the post.

With the hosts pushing forward in desperation, the Italians struck again. Del Piero finished with a right-footed blast into the top of the net just before the whistle sounded.

"A game of this type in their home? We really reached a new level tonight," Del Piero said.

It's a level that could win the Italians their first World Cup since 1982. They mobbed each other and rolled around on the field as their fans in a sliver of the stadium jumped in delight, waving flags in ecstasy.

But while the Italians celebrated, the Germans collapsed in dismay.

"It's bitter to lose like that," Germany defender Philipp Lahm said. "We had set ourselves the target of reaching the semifinals, but once you've reached that, you want to go all the way."

The home crowd lingered to cheer their heroes, singing and chanting their names and "Deutschland, Deutschland" after the match. Ballack and several others cried as they left the field after circling it to recognize their flag-waving fans. They were defeated, but unashamed.

"I already told my team in the dressing room that the team has every reason to be proud of themselves," said Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann. "They really achieved amazing things at this World Cup."

They just couldn't finish the Italians, whose technical mastery, particularly on defense, was surpassing.

The Azzurri heads to its first World Cup title game since losing to Brazil in 1994.

"These guys battled from the start and continued throughout," Lippi said, referring as much to the scandal as the win. "It's a great satisfaction. We look forward to next Sunday, whoever we play."

Germany will play in the third-place game Saturday in Stuttgart, hardly where it planned to be.

"The boys are sitting there and have a bitter pill to swallow," Klinsmann said. "It hurts terribly."

In Berlin, the mood was melancholy.

In Dortmund, a few fights broke after the game. Police said they detained 37 people.

"I am not going to sleep tonight, or maybe the next week," said fan Klaus Braun. "I haven't felt this terrible since my parents divorced."

Nearly half an hour after the final whistle, one girl was still lying on the ground next to one of the fan festival's giant screens, sobbing into a German flag as her friends tried to console her.

"I don't have anything against the Italian people — I have no problem with them," Ursel Weber said. "But I'm feeling betrayed because the Germans were the better team in this game."

ITALY 2, GERMANY 0 (OT)

At Dortmund, Germany

Germany 0 0 0 — 0
Italy 0 0 2 — 2
First half — None. Second half — None. Extra time — 1, Italy, Grosso 1, 119th minute. 2, Italy, Del Piero 1, 120th (injury time). Shots — Germany 13, Italy 15. Shots on goal — Germany 2 Italy 10. Yellow cards — Germany, Borowski, 40th; Metzelder, 56th. Italy, Camoranesi, 90th. Offsides — Germany 2, Italy 11. Fouls — Germany 21, Italy 19. Referee — Benito Archundia, Mexico. Linesmen — Jose Ramirez, Mexico; Hector Vergara, Mexico. A — 65,000.

Lineups

Germany — Jens Lehmann, Arne Friedrich, Per Mertesacker, Chriostoph Metzelder, Philipp Lahm, Bernd Schneider (David Odonkor, 83rd), Sebastian Kehl, Michael Ballack, Tim Borowski (Bastian Schweinsteiger, 73rd), Miroslav Klose (Oliver Neuville, 111th), Lukas Podolski.

Italy — Gianluigi Buffon, Gianluca Zambrotta, Fabio Cannavaro, Marco Materazzi, Fabio Grosso, Mauro Camoranesi (Vicenzo Iaquinta, 91st), Andrea Pirlo, Gennaro Gattuso, Simone Perrotta (Alessandro Del Piero, 104th), Francesco Totti, Luca Toni (Alberto Gilardino, 74th).

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

advertising

advertising

TV/Radio listings

Monday, May 6

Pro baseballTVRadio
4:07 p.m.Seattle at TorontoROOT710
7 p.m.PCL, Reno at Tacoma850
7:30 p.m.*Seattle at TorontoROOT
NBA basketball playoffs
4 p.m.New York at BostonESPN
4 p.m.Indiana at AtlantaESPN2
6:30 p.m.Oklahoma City at HoustonESPN
6:30 p.m.L.A. Clippers at MemphisESPN2
NHL hockey playoffs
4 p.m.Ottawa at MontrealCBUT
4 p.m.N.Y. Islanders at PittsburghNBCSN
4 p.m.Ottawa at MontrealCNBC
6:30 p.m.Minnesota at ChicagoNBCSN
6:30 p.m.Minnesota at ChicagoCBUT
7 p.m.San Jose at VancouverCNBC950, 102.9
Pro golf
6 a.m.*European Tour, China OpenGOLF
9:30 a.m.LPGA Tour, Kingsmill ChampionshipGOLF
NoonPGA Tour, Wells Fargo ChampionshipGOLF
4:30 p.m.*Champions Tour, Insperity Champ.GOLF
Auto racing
9 a.m.NASCAR Nationwide 312 qualifyingESPN2
11 a.m.NASCAR Sprint Cup 499 practiceSPEED
12:30 p.m.NASCAR Sprint Cup 499 practiceSPEED
2 p.m.ARCA Talladega 250SPEED
Horse racing
2 p.m.Kentucky OaksNBCSN
WHL hockey playoffs final
10:30 p.m.*Edmonton at PortlandROOT
College lacrosse
2:30 a.m.* (Sat.)ECAC Semis, Loyola,Md.vs.Ohio St.ROOT
College softball
4 p.m.Oregon St. at OregonPAC-12
6 p.m.Arizona St. at ArizonaPAC-12
IIHF hockey
2 a.m. (Sat.)United States vs. AustriaNBCSN
* Delayed broadcast

Complete TV/Radio listings

Times writers on the radio

950 KJR

  • Mariners reporter Geoff Baker appears at 9 a.m. Tuesdays with Mitch Levy.
  • Columnist Jerry Brewer appears daily with Elise Woodward 10 a.m. to noon as well as on the Seahawks Roundtable at 8:20 a.m. Thursdays during the NFL season.
  • UW reporter Bob Condotta appears on the Husky Roundtable at 8:20 a.m. Mondays during the college football season.
  • Baseball reporter Larry Stone appears at 8 a.m. Fridays with Mitch Levy.
  • UW reporter Percy Allen appears at noon every Saturday with Jeff Aaron.

* = tape delayed

Complete TV/Radio listingsMore

AL West W L Pct. GB Div. Streak
y-LA Angels 100 62 .617 --- 36-21 Won 1
Texas 79 83 .488 21 30-27 Lost 1
Oakland 75 86 .466 24.5 26-31 Lost 5
Seattle 61 101 .377 39 22-35 Won 3

y - clinched division, x - clinched playoff berth

Wild card standings | AL standings | NL standings

Sign up for daily sports e-mails

Have top Seattle Times headlines delivered to your inbox each morning for sports, Mariners, Sonics, Storm, Seahawks, Huskies, Cougars and high school.



Recreation calendar
Detailed listings of community sports activities.

Sports cartoon

Updated every Sunday.

How to contact sports

Email: sports@seattletimes.com

Phone: (206) 464-2276

Fax: (206) 464-3255

Letters

E-mail: Cathy Henkel, Sports Editor, chenkel@seattletimes.com

Snail mail: Sports Editor, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111

More info.


advertising

Local sales & deals Play games Find a job
Search for a job
Job type