Euro 2012

Italy/Germany - Balotelli has Italians 2-0 ahead at half-time

A Mario Balotelli header and a thumping drive had Italy leading Germany 2-0 at half-time on Thursday in their Euro 2012 semi-final in Warsaw.

Balotelli headed in on 20 minutes after a superlative piece of skill and cross from Antonio Cassano, who out-foxed two defenders before delivering the striker his chance on a plate.

Sami Khedira brought a fine save out of Gianluigi Buffon in the Italian goal at the other end as the Germans tried to respond.

But on 36 minutes Balotelli produced a scintillating second, smashing home from just outside the box after beating the offside trap after a Riccardo Montolivo through ball played him into acres of space.

Balotell removed his shirt and stood stock still to milk the applause - taking the resulting booking as a minor irritation.

Italian forward Mario Balotelli (R) scores in the nets of German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer during the Euro 2012 football championships semi-final match Germany vs Italy on June 28, 2012 at the National Stadium in Warsaw. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS

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