S’porean presents Pirlo with Man-of-the-Match award

Man-of-the-match Pirlo, S'porean Vishal Singh and Peter Schmeichel. (Carlsberg photo)Man-of-the-match Pirlo, S'porean Vishal Singh and Peter Schmeichel. (Carlsberg photo)

REPORTING FROM WARSAW, POLAND

It's been the trip of a lifetime for Singaporean Vishal Singh Kanwar.

Having flown business class to Warsaw, Poland and treated to a luxury hotel stay, he finally got to present Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo with the Carlsberg Man of the Match award at the final whistle of the semi-final between Italy and Germany.

"What a fantastic day," he said at the end of a shock result that saw Italy down favourites Germany 2-1.

"I can't believe I got to meet Andrea Pirlo, amazing. I would like to thank Carlsberg for making this happen," said Vishal, a Manchester United fan.

Asked how he felt about meeting Pirlo face-to-face, Vishal said the Italy playmaker looked just like he envisioned from having seem him on television.

"I just told him, 'Well done' and wished him all the best of the final."

So what of the Italy-Spain final in Kiev on Sunday?

The 25-year-old recent university graduate, who is a Manchester United fan, said he won't be rooting for either team but just "hopes for a good game."

Vishal earned the trip of a lifetime by emerging top in the "Are You Fan Enough?" six-week online challenge before the start of Euro 2012.

[Watch the face-to-face meet here]

Meanwhile, Pirlo himself was delighted with the Man-of-the-Match Award, his third of the tournament so far.

The 33-year-old Juventus playmaker is enjoying an Indian summer to his career, having just won the Serie A title. He is now on the cusp of leading his side to Euro 2012 victory.

On Thursday, he masterminded a shock Azzurri win with another poised, majestic  performance at the heart of the Italian midfeld.

"Thanks very much for my prize," he said. "The team pulled off a great victory tonight against an exceptional side. We hoped to get this far from the very start, and now that we are here we hope to play a great final — we are here to win."

Carlsberg ambassador Peter Schmeichel said that Pirlo was in the form of his life and that the axis of Pirlo and Mario Balotelli is peaking perfectly for the Azzurri.

"There were a few players to choose from (for the award). Mario Balotelli scored two goals and I can't remember seeing Gianluigi Buffon play so well, but I think Andrea Pirlo, produced the best performance of the Euro so far," he said.

"His ability with the ball, his passing, the way he frustrated the Germans today, it was a piece of art."