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Germany 0-2 Italy (aet)
Tuesday, 4 July 2006



F Grosso 119
A Del Piero 120


T Borowski 40yellow card
C Metzelder 56yellow card


M Camoranesi 90yellow card



42% 58%

Shots on target

6 11

Shots off target

12 6


4 12


19 19


  • 01 J Lehmann
  • 03 A Friedrich
  • 21 C Metzelder yellow card
  • 17 P Mertesacker
  • 16 P Lahm
  • 18 T Borowski yellow card (72 B Schweinsteiger )
  • 13 M Ballack
  • 05 S Kehl
  • 19 B Schneider (83 D Odonkor )
  • 11 M Klose (111 O Neuville )
  • 20 L Podolski


  • 02 M Jansen,
  • 04 R Huth,
  • 06 J Nowotny,
  • 07 B Schweinsteiger,
  • 09 M Hanke,
  • 10 O Neuville,
  • 12 O Kahn,
  • 14 G Asamoah,
  • 15 T Hitzlsperger,
  • 22 D Odonkor,
  • 23 T Hildebrand


  • 01 G Buffon
  • 19 G Zambrotta
  • 05 F Cannavaro
  • 23 M Materazzi
  • 03 F Grosso
  • 16 M Camoranesi yellow card (90 V Iaquinta )
  • 20 S Perrotta (104 A Del Piero )
  • 08 G Gattuso
  • 21 A Pirlo
  • 10 F Totti
  • 09 L Toni (74 A Gilardino )


  • 02 C Zaccardo,
  • 06 A Barzagli,
  • 07 A Del Piero,
  • 11 A Gilardino,
  • 12 A Peruzzi,
  • 13 A Nesta,
  • 14 M Amelia,
  • 15 V Iaquinta,
  • 17 S Barone,
  • 18 F Inzaghi,
  • 22 M Oddo

Ref: Benito Archundia Tellez
Att: 65000


By Charlie Henderson

RATER POLL: It will be little consolation to the hosts but 70% of you think that was the match of the tournament. 84% say Italy are worthy winners.

FULL-TIME: Alessandro Del Piero's touch is the last of the match. What a finish after a pulsating night's entertainment in Dortmund. Italy are going to Sunday's final in Berlin. Germany head to Jurgen Klinsmann's home town of Stuttgart for the match nobody wants to play - the 3rd/4th place play-off.

120 mins: GOAL Germany 0-2 Italy
Italy break and take advantage of the home defence pushing forward to help out in the search for an equaliser. Fabio Cannavaro releases Alberto Gilardino who takes the ball to the edge of the area where he is held up by Christoph Metzelder. But the striker keeps his composure, takes his time and rolls in Alessandro Del Piero on the left. The substitute breaks German hearts with a clinical finish into the roof of the net beyond the advancing Jens Lehmann.

119 mins: GOAL Germany 0-1 Italy
For once Italy do not play a corner into the palms of Jens Lehmann. A clearance drops to Andrea Pirlo on the edge of area, he darts right and dinks a pass into the box and into the path of Fabio Grosso. The full-back lashes an unbelievable, curling left-footed shot beyond Lehmann's outstretched finger-tips into the far corner.

118 mins: Andrea Pirlo chances his arm from distance. Jens Lehmann turns the Italian's left-footed shot behind for a corner.

115 mins: These 22 players are giving their all in the end-to-end search for a winner. The middle of the pitch is now a huge verdant plain of space as players push at either end for that vital goal.

113 mins: Up to the other end and Philip Lahm concedes a corner. Again it is a terrible delivery and Germany easily clear, for the time being. Vincenzo Iaquinto, Francesco Totti and Alessandro Del Piero link up on the edge of the area but the shaven-headed Del Piero drags his shot wide.

112 mins: Germany break. There is space all over the place. The ball is worked to Lukas Podolski on the left. He lines up his shot but Gianluigi Buffon makes a great one-handed save pushing the fierce drive over the bar.

111 mins: The ball just will not come down for Alessandro Del Piero in the box. With his back to goal he is desperately trying to work an inch of space to turn and shoot on goal but he is well crowded out by white shirts. He lays it back to Vincenzo Iaquinta but Philip Lahm blocks.

110 mins: The final change of the night and it is that man Oliver Neuville. He scored the late winner here in the group game against Poland and the first penalty in the shoot-out versus Argentina. Miroslav Klose goes off.

109 mins: Philip Lahm receives the ball in space on the left outside the Italy area. He lines up his shot but curls it just high and wide of Gianluigi Buffon's goal.

107 mins: Francesco Totti releases Vincenzo Iaquinta, but he is forced slightly wide and is well marshalled by Arne Friedrich who concedes a corner. Guess what? Jens Lehmann claims with ease. Italy's corners have been terrible tonight.

RATER POLL: Penalties are now up to 59%, but if either team is going to nick this 33% of you fancy Italy.

2213 BST: The final resumption of the night. 105 minutes of engrossing football behind us. Just 15 more minutes in front of us.

2212 BST: West Germany won their first World Cup title 52 years ago to the day. The magic moment of victory over Hungary was greeted by the commentator thus: "Aus! aus! aus! aus! Das Spiel ist aus! Deutschland ist Weltmeister!" Will they be remembering this day for a famous German win years down the line?

HALF-TIME EXTRA-TIME: It's getting tense. German fans try to rouse their tiring heroes as the teams swap ends.

105 mins: That first David Odonkor cross was clearly a sighter. The second is inch perfect but Lukas Podolski fails to test Gianluigi Buffon with a header.

104 mins: David Odonkor, who has done nothing since coming on, takes off his cloak of invisibility and races down the right flank but his cross does not match what went before.

103 mins: Michael Ballack and Vincenzo Iaquinta climb for a high ball and clash heads. Replays show the German knew what he was doing, glancing at his rival before leading with his arm. Both players get up. Simone Perrotta is the man who is replaced by Alessandro Del Piero so Italy and Marcello Lippi are going for it.

102 mins: Italy coach Marcello Lippi lines up a third and final change giving Alessandro Del Piero some final instructions on the touchline. Who will make way?

100 mins: Italy's incessant possession earns whistles of derision from the majority of the crowd. They are anxious when the blue shirts boss the ball but scream in delight as Bastian Schweinsteiger stabs the ball clear for a moment of relief.

99 mins: Fabio Cannavaro is infuriated to concede a free-kick deep on the left. Bastian Schweinsteiger's delivery fails to beat the first man.

95 mins: Now Germany have a corner. Bastian Schweinstegier's delivery spears across the box but nobody can get on the end of it.

94 mins: Italy have hit their straps. Another corner is worked deep but Fabio Cannavaro, after climbing high at the back post, cannot guide his header on target.

93 mins: Italy hit the woodwork for a second time. A corner is worked to Gianluca Zambrotta outside the area and he lashes a screamer on to the crossbar.

"Ooooooh. Alan Green. You've spilt water absolutely everywhere."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

91 mins: Alberto Gilardino bursts pass the bearded Christoph Metzelder into the box, turns Michael Ballack near the byeline and sends Jens Lehmann the wrong way but his stabbed shot rebounds off the post and trickles away to safety.

2154 BST: Germany kick us off for extra-time. Italy have made a second change with Vincenzo Iaquinta on for Mauro Camoranesi.

RATER POLL: Well you've been doing your homework. 88% of you say Germany would be the happier to go to penalties. Since they've only ever missed one of 18 World Cup shoot-out spot-kicks there's no surprise there.

"A lot has been made of Germany's fitness training for the World Cup and they will need it as a second match on the trot goes to extra-time for them."
Mandeep Sanghera, BBC Sport in Dortmund

"Germany slightly improved and took the game to Italy, but Italy have been in command and we shouldn't be going into extra-time. They could throw this away. They are so much in control but are short of a good striker."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

RATER POLL: Has this been a classic contest? 56% of you say yes, but 44% are gagging for a goal.

END OF NORMAL TIME: That's that then for the time being. The 1970 semi-final between the teams is widely regarded as the best match in the World Cup. This will not match that 4-3 extravaganza in Mexico, but, with the excitement of extra-time we could still yet have a grandstand finish.

90 + 1 min: A free-kick to Germany deep down the left flank, but Sebastian Kehl's flick-on at the near post evades his team-mates and goes out for a goal-kick.

90 mins: Over dramatic from Sebastian Kehl. In the Olympic diving pool he'd have got good marks. Mauro Camoranesi gets a booking despite getting the ball. The first Italian yellow card of the night. There will be three minutes more of normal time.

89 mins: Simone Perrotta loops a long ball forward to Alberto Gilardino. The substitute cannot bring it down first time and by the time he does get it under control Philip Lahm takes the ball off him.

85 mins: Francesco Totti collects Alberto Gilardino's flick on and hooks a pass over the German defence for Simone Perrotta. Jens Lehmann makes sure he gets the man and ball. Not as bad as Toni Schumacher against France in Seville in 1982, but similar, and risky.

83 mins: Jurgen Klinsmann selected David Odonkor in his squad because he could give the side "something different". Well he's on now, on his home ground so we'll see what he can do. It is the second play in the coach's regular three-card trick of substitutions. Next up should be Oliver Neuville. Bernd Schneider trots off.

82 mins: No. Michael Ballack takes a two-step approach and whips his effort high over the crossbar.

81 mins: Lukas Podolski wins a free-kick on the edge of the box with Fabio Cannavaro ruled to be climbing all over the striker. It was actually in the box so initially a let off for Italy. Will they be punished from the free-kick?

80 mins: A goal now should be enough to secure a place against either France or Portugal in Sunday's final in Berlin.

79 mins: Another attacking raid down the left flank from Philip Lahm ends with a German throw by the corner flag. In the ensuing passage Michael Ballack lunges in on Gennaro Gattuso to concede a free-kick.

76 mins: Sebastian Kehl heads Gianluca Zambrotta's cross behind for a corner. Yet again Jens Lehmann is the man on the end of the corner as Italy waste another good opportunity in the attacking third.

74 mins: A first change for Italy. Alberto Gilardino replaces Luca Toni in attack.

PLAYER RATER: With no goals on the scoreboard it is no surprise defenders are catching your eye. Fabio Cannavaro leads the way with 8.63, while you rate Germany's top player as Jens Lehmann.

72 mins: Tim Borowski is the man to make way for Bastian Schweinsteiger, who started each of Germany's previous five World Cup matches.

70 mins: A first change of the match and it is a German one as Bastian Schweinsteiger strips off his tracksuit on the sidelines. Gennaro Gattuso goes down with cramp.

68 mins: Michael Ballack leads another German break but Gianluca Zambrotta steps in to cut out Tim Borowski's attempted cross from the left of the area.

"The German crowd are trying to lift their side and it seems to be working as the host nation begin to look more threatening than they have been all match."
Mandeep Sanghera, BBC Sport in Dortmund

67 mins: Lukas Podolski runs at the Italian defence but is well marshalled by Fabio Cannavaro on the right before the striker steps on the ball.

65 mins: That lull in play was clearly Germany girding their loins. They push down the left but are then on the backfoot as the mesmeric Andrea Pirlo works his way from right back to the centre circle with an exhibition of quicksilver feet.

61 mins: Here come Germany. Michael Ballack is up-ended by Marco Materazzi but the referee waves play advantage. The ball is worked to Lukas Podolski inside the area who turns and forces a reflex save from Gigi Buffon. Arne Friedrich smashes over the rebound. Jurgen Klinsmann smashes the living daylights out of a water bottle on the touchline in frustration at a missed opportunity.

"Germany are struggling to break down the Italian defence and could soon make an attacking change with David Odonkor, Oliver Neuville and Bastian Schweinsteiger warming up on the touchline."
Mandeep Sanghera, BBC Sport in Dortmund

59 mins: Francesco Totti is caught on the foot by a tackle from Sebastian Kehl but the Italian holds his face. What's that about? We don't want to go down that route.

58 mins: The pace and quality has dropped a touch.

56 mins: This really is breathless stuff, although the players get a well-deserved breather after Christoph Metzelder is booked for a challenge from behind on Luca Toni in the centre circle.

53 mins: The home fans like what they see. The decibel level has risen again but for the time being Germany are on the back foot after some poor defending by Arne Friedrich. Again Jens Lehmann dominates his box to claim.

51 mins: Now it's time for Jens Lehmann to react well, close the angle and smother a shot. Andrea Pirlo plays in Fabio Grosso who takes one touch too many when a first-time hit may have been the better option. In the end it doesn't matter whether he had one touch or 10 - the flag was up for offside.

50 mins: Miroslav Klose goes on a mazy run on goal, arrowing between Gennaro Gattuso and Fabio Cannavaro but Gianluigi Buffon comes off his line quickly to save the blushes of his team-mates and smother the shot which Klose gets out from under his feet.

48 mins: Italy are taking a bit of time to hit the tempo and rhythm they found in the first half.

2101 BST: Italy start the second half but Germany start the better, working a chance on goal which Sebastian Kehl, playing on his home ground, flashes wide.

"Germany need to up the tempo, get Michael Ballack forward more and get Bastian Schweinsteiger on. They need width, Tim Borowski is a central midfielder and doesn't like playing wide. Germany seem to have the shackles on for the first time in the tournament."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

2100 BST: The teams are back out for the second half.

RATER POLL: The number of you who expect this to go to penalties has almost doubled from 11% on 25 minutes to 21% on 45 minutes. 57% of you think it will still be decided in normal time.

"Italy have bossed the half and they will be kicking themselves that they haven't scored. It's the best they have played since the opening game against Ghana. They've linked up well and if Luca Toni can get into gear there's no reason they can't win. Germany haven't asked any questions and they are missing Torsten Frings."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

HALF-TIME: There is nothing to show between the sides on the scoreboard, but if it was a boxing match Italy would be up on points. They have enjoyed 59% of the ball, six shots on target to three and five corners to one. I wonder how the Klitchko brothers have marked it?

44 mins: Germany enjoy the better of the closing stages of the half. Fabio Grosso clears Philip Lahm's cross.

41 mins: It is another inviting free-kick from Andrea Pirlo. Mauro Camoranesi gets on the end of it in front of the first German defender on the right of the box but cannot guide his header on goal.

"Jurgen Klinsmann feels a sense of injustice. Italian skipper Fabio Cannavaro was not penalised for a tackle from behind but minutes later Tim Borowski was for the host nation. When he looks at the replays the German boss will see that while Cannavaro got the ball, Borowski did not."
Mandeep Sanghera, BBC Sport in Dortmund

40 mins: A first yellow card. Tim Borowski slides in from behind on Francesco Totti on the halfway line.

39 mins: Four months ago in Florence it was 3-0 to Italy at this stage. By comparison at least Germany are still in this game but Italy are increasingly dominant.

37 mins: After absorbing that spell of pressure Italy win another corner but, again, the delivery is poor. What can they do now with a free-kick by the corner flag? It's cleared but Germany are surviving by the skin of their teeth at times.

36 mins: Miroslav Klose and Bernd Schneider link up again. The big striker drills a cross over the area but Schneider is unable to get on the end of it.

34 mins: The best chance of the game and it goes to Germany. Andrea Pirlo gives the ball away and the hosts break, Miroslav Klose feeding Bernd Schneider on the right. He blazes his effort from the edge of the area just over.

32 mins: Sustained Italy pressure and three corners in quick succession. The first is headed clear and Jens Lehmann gathers the next two. A disappointing return for the Azzurri.

31 mins: Simone Perrotta releases Fabio Grosso who skins Arne Friedrich and races into the area playing in Luca Toni at the near post. Fortunately for Germany Per Mertesacker has shadowed Toni every step of the way and blocks his flicked effort on goal.

30 mins: Italy are on their toes from the resultant free-kick whereas Germany are caught on their heels. Andrea Pirlo pulls it back low to Francesco Totti but he is unable to thread a shot through the massed ranks of white shirts.

29 mins: Mauro Camoranesi twists Philip Lahm into the ground like a corkscrew with neat footwork and a quick turn by the byeline. He wins a free-kick.

27 mins: Bernd Schneider finds space and breaks on the right but sees his name up in lights. He opts to shoot instead of releasing Arne Freidrich on the overlap. His effort is blocked.

RATER POLL: What a start. End-to-end at a really high tempo and too hard to call according to you. Who will score first? 43% of you say Germany and 46% reckon Italy. But already 11% of you are preparing for the long haul and penalties.

24 mins: Another great chance for Italy but neither Luca Toni or Marco Materazzi can get their head on the end of Andrea Pirlo's whipped free-kick from the right.

"German striker Lukas Podolski urges on the home crowd who have been loud but not as vociferous as against Poland when the two teams played here in the group stages."
Mandeep Sanghera, BBC Sport in Dortmund

21 mins: Bernd Schneider's flat cross from the right is hooked goalwards by Lukas Podolski. Goalwards in the sense of that being the direction, but it is so high it loops over the netting in front of the fans. The striker attempts to whip up the crowd.

19 mins: Italy again look for a return down the inside left channel but the ball skips off the turf and through to Jens Lehmann.

16 mins: Simone Perrotta's heavy touch means Italy fail to seriously test Jens Lehmann with the best chance of the game so far. The Ashton-under-Lyme-born midfielder gets on the end of Francesco Totti's through ball and is clear on goal but pokes the ball too far ahead of him with his first touch and Lehmann smothers.

15 mins: Miroslav Klose climbs high to knock down a high pass to Lukas Podolski but Fabio Cannavaro comes in from the blindside at a rate of knots to clear.

RATER POLL: No surprise really that you think the key men in the match will be Michael Ballack and Francesco Totti. The German edges it with 47% of your vote ahead of Totti's 37%. With players looking to go down easily it could be that referee Benito Archundia will yet have the greatest influence over this match.

12 mins: There's a real zip to the game. Lukas Podolski turns on the edge of the area but his shot is blocked by Fabio Cannavaro.

11 mins: Philip Lahm gets on the end of Fabio Grosso's low cross and clears with Luca Toni lurking. Jens Lehmann comes for and misses a corner but his defence cover up his error to clear again.

10 mins: The piercing whistles mean Italy are in possession. The cheers mean Mauro Camoranesi's pass forward is over hit and bounces through to Jens Lehmann.

8 mins: Good close control from Miroslav Klose down the right. His pass into Lukas Podolski is played on to Michael Ballack, but his shot curves well wide of goal.

7 mins: Four months ago in Florence it was already 2-0 to Italy so things are already looking up for Germany.

5 mins: A slight scare for the hosts as Christoph Metzelder plays Jens Lehmann into a bit of trouble with a heavy back pass, but despite the keeper's clearance being charged down Germany escape.

4 mins: Francesco Totti gets a right-footed free-kick on target but it is easy pickings for Jens Lehmann.

2 mins: Italy have started well, but Germany get a chance to get some forward momentum as Lukas Podolski wins a dubious free-kick after a challenge from Gennaro Gattuso.

2000 BST: Germany's strike duo Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski get the game going. They have eight goals between them but will have to do something no other forward has done - score against Italy.


"I believe it will be a very close game, Germany are on a high, but this will be a real test and Italy are a classic team on the counterattack and I'll whisper it, but I think Italy will win."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

"Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro looked pumped up as he jumped up and down at the end of his country's national anthem. And, if the manner of the Italy team is anything to go by, they seem to be savouring the occasion and relishing the match than showing any signs of nervousness."
Mandeep Sanghera, BBC Sport in Dortmund

1958 BST: Der Kaiser has had the look of a politician at this World Cup and is joined in the posh seats by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime minister Romano Prodi who are sitting next to each other.

1956 BST: A rousing rendition of the German anthem, with the omni-present Franz Beckenbauer in attendance at his 45th match of the tournament.

1955 BST: The Italian anthem is accompanied by jeers which slowly peter out. They are all singing apart from Argentine-born Mauro Camoranesi. He has previously said he still feels 100% Argentine and playing for Italy was purely a footballing decision. More like Mauro Camora-mercenary.

1953 BST: The Germans in the crowd are chanting "We're going to Berlin" prior to the teams walking out.

"If you let Germany dictate the ball and get their noses in front the atmosphere, which is already fantastic, will just get better. Italy will want to take their time, hope Germany run themselves into the ground and play on the counterattack."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

1950 BST: The teams are gathered in the tunnel. The man in the middle is Mexican Bentio Archundia, who has the honour of becoming the first referee to officiate five matches at a single World Cup. He is the most lenient of the 21 refs at the tournament having handed out just 11 yellows and one red in his four matches - that's an average of three each game.

"Rino Gattuso, Simone Perrota and Mauro Camoranesi will run, run, run and Italy are hard to break down at the back. But they must get the ball to their key players in attack."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

1947 BST: On the downside, notorious tipster Pele has picked Germany to win through to the final. This is the same Brazilian footballing legend who backed France and Argentina to contest the 2002 final and an African team to win before the turn of the century...the last century that is.

1943 BST: Another boon for Klinsi and co is the fact they are playing in Dortmund, a venue defender Christoph Metzelder described as "Germany's living room". They have won 13 of the 14 internationals played there, scoring 59 goals and conceding just seven. They began this run of nine unbeaten in Dortmund and also scrapped that last-minute group win over Poland there.

"There are huge roars as the German team is announced as the players finish off their warm up in the sweltering heat and humidity. The whistles ring around the ground as the Italian team is announced as their players leave for the dressing room."
Mandeep Sanghera, BBC Sport in Dortmund

1939 BST: In a poll of 1,000 Germans shortly after that Florence embarrassment only 3% said Germany would win the World Cup. How things change. The country is buzzing at the prospect of a title showdown in Berlin on Sunday against either Portugal or France.

"Fabio Cannavaro has been absolutely class throughout this tournament. He can see when the ball's going to be played and has been fantastic. Against Australia he got the first seven of the eight passes made to Mark Viduka."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

1935 BST: Italy went 4-0 up in that match and start with seven of the team that ran out for that match. Germany play eight survivors from that night.

1933 BST: Okay, enough of the history, what about the form? Italy have not lost for 23 matches, their longest undefeated streak since 1939, in a run that includes a 4-1 hammering of Germany in March this year. Since then Germany have gone nine games unbeaten, winning seven.

"The players are out warming up to a backdrop of white in the stands. In amongst the sea of white are the boxing brothers Vladimir and Vitali Klitchko. They have been following Ukraine over here, but, as the flag they're carrying suggests, have swapped their alleigances to Germany."
Mandeep Sanghera, BBC Sport in Munich

1929 BST: By the way, the Pontiff has declared he will remain impartial. "The national aspect should be secondary whilst the sport aspect should prevail," his secretary, Monsignor Georg Genswein, told La Repubblica newspaper. "May the best team win - it doesn't matter whether it is Italy or Germany."

1924 BST: One of the highlights of that win in Madrid was Marco Tardelli scoring Italy's second goal and then living the schoolboy dream by screaming his own name as he wheeled away from the goal, arms outstretched, to celebrate. "In 1990 they won the World Cup on our territory," he has said. "Now it is time to pay them back by winning on theirs."

1922 BST: And there are some spooky similarities between 1982 and 2006 for Italy. Now, like then, they are competing against the backdrop of a domestic match-fixing scandal. In Spain, striker Paolo Rossi took five games to open his account, the same number of matches as Luca Toni this time out. The sitting Pope in 1982 was John Paul II, a Pole. Who did Italy beat in the last four? Why, Poland of course. Present Pope Benedict XVI is German and a Bayern Munich fan to boot.

1917 BST: The World Cup record makes even worse reading for the hosts. Four matches, two draws in group matches and two defeats in the knockout phase. The first loss came in a sensational semi-final in 1970 which Italy won 4-3 after extra-time. The second was that 1982 final victory in Spain which the Italians took 3-1.

1915 BST: The fate of the date may lie in the lap of the Gods, but Italian fans can take heart from the head-to-head statistics. These countries have met 28 times with Italy winning 13 to Germany's seven. Of more significance is the record in competitive games. In six matches Germany have yet to record a victory. That's the "thing" to which Chris Waddle was referring.

1912 BST: The atmosphere is building in a baking Dortmund with Jens Lehmann, Germany's hero of the penalty shoot-out against Argentina, getting a great welcome as he emerges for his warm-up.

1910 BST: Yes, but if you start in 1970 - when Italy beat West Germany in the last four before losing to Brazil - and add in 1994 when they again lost the final to Brazil, Italy reach the final every 12 years. 1970, 1982, 1994...

1906 BST: Two of Italy's three titles date back to pre-war tournaments in 1934 and 1938. The third came in 1982 when they beat West Germany in the final. Check out those last two dates - 1938 to 1982 is 44 years. That means their next title will come in 2026 if we go by the ludicrously basic assumptions we just used to predict Germany's success.

1859 BST: This is the bit with the history. Germany won in 1954, 1974 and 1990. Check out those last two dates. 1974 plus 16 years equals 1990. 1990 plus 16 years equals 2006. If there's a straw to clutch at we'll find it and there's another pattern there. 1974 they won in Germany, 1990 they won in Italy and now they are back in Germany.

"This is the first of two great semi-finals. Germany started at 100-mile-an-hour and have kept it going, while Italy have stuttered before a comfortable win over Ukraine and they seem to have a thing over Germany."
Chris Waddle, BBC Five Live Sport

"I don't think Germany's defence has been properly tested yet. It will be tonight."
Alan Green, BBC Five Live Sport

1854 BST: Which players are going to try and maintain that World Cup pedigree this time out?

Germany coach Jurgen Klinsmann is in no doubt about his best team with nine of his squad starting all of their previous World Cup matches, but he springs a surprise and that list is now down to seven with Torsten Frings suspended and Bastian Schweinsteiger dropped. Tim Borowski and Sebastian Kehl step in.

Italy welcome Marco Materazzi back into the heart of their defence after the Inter Milan man's one-match suspension following a red card against Australia. His return, at the expense of Andrea Barzagli, is the only change.

1848 BST: So, there's a little bit of background shenanigans to spice this up - although that's hardly necessary as these two are Europe's football heavyweights with three World Cup crowns each.

1843 BST: The captain's injured defensive partner Alessandro Nesta took a different slant: "From fashion to restaurants, we're a population of workers. People criticise us, but then they want to dress and eat like us. There's a bit of jealousy." Never mind the catwalks and carbonara, what about the calcio?

1836 BST: Sky Italia's actions came hot on the heels of German newspaper Der Spiegel describing Italians as "oily" "greasy" and "slimy" - a lot of tautology there - as well as "parasitic", "mamma's boys" and "cheats". Skipper Fabio Cannavaro described himself as offended by the slur.

1829 BST: Torsten Frings, who has been one of Germany's outstanding players, unsurprisingly insists he is innocent. "I didn't do anything," he told Kreiszeitung Syke newspaper. "I found myself in a crowd of people where everyone was hitting out wildly. I took two punches myself. I put out my hands to protect myself, that was all."

1825 BST: Germany go into the match without suspended midfielder Torsten Frings but are aggrieved at the manner at which he has been ruled out. Fifa opened an investigation after Sky Italia, an Italian TV station, "stumbled" on footage showing Frings landing a punch on Argentina's Julio Cruz in a melee of players at the end of their quarter-final victory.

1818 BST: Dortmund - population: 585,678 - has welcomed an estimated 250,000 fans for this much-anticipated semi-final. It has been the busiest day in the history of the local train station and 107 charter flights came into the airport.

"German fans are starting to stream into the ground dressed in all manner of attire sporting the colours of their national flag - black, red and yellow. You name it, they have it - mohican wigs, hats, garlands, wristbands as well as the obligatory shirts and flags. Those without are snapping up paraphernalia from the stalls, while pockets of Italian fans sing away to let the host nation's crowd know they are here."
Mandeep Sanghera, BBC Sport in Dortmund

1816 BST: The German car industry will go silent for the match. Bosses are hitting the stop switch on the production line at DaimlerChrysler, Volkswagen, Porsche and BMW for the match.

1810 BST: And then there were four. It's semi-final time in Germany and the hosts have high hopes of becoming the first nation to reach eight World Cup finals.


Germany: Lehmann, Friedrich, Metzelder, Mertesacker, Lahm, Borowski, Ballack, Kehl, Schneider, Klose, Podolski.
Subs: Jansen, Huth, Nowotny, Schweinsteiger, Hanke, Neuville, Kahn, Asamoah, Hitzlsperger, Odonkor, Hildebrand.

Italy: Buffon, Zambrotta, Cannavaro, Materazzi, Grosso, Camoranesi, Perrotta, Gattuso, Pirlo, Totti, Toni.
Subs: Zaccardo, Barzagli, Del Piero, Gilardino, Peruzzi, Nesta, Amelia, Iaquinta, Barone, Inzaghi, Oddo.

Referee: Benito Archundia (Mexico).

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