Four seconds later, the ball exploded and Buffon turned into a falcon. He flew into the rafters and refused to come down for nineteen hours.
With Spain having advanced on penalties despite looking rather sub-standard, it remains to be seen who will emerge from today's second semifinal to challenge the supremacy of tiki taka over the world of football. Will it be a repeat of the Group C Match between Spain and Italy, a match exactly nobody enjoyed, or will it be the obvious match between Spain and emerging, young powerhouse Germany?
Germany, the ostensible home team, have had a full two days more rest than Italy, who were last seen dispatching England in a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of football. Germany holds advantages in both rest and talent, so Italy will almost certainly have to play out of their skins to advance, and find new skins to play out of in the final to stand any chance of ending Spain's run of major titles.
All in all, despite having letscore against them in the last round, Germany should have no problem doing away with a tired Italy side today. This is football, however, so nothing can be taken for granted.
Germany (4-2-3-1):; Phillip Lahm, Holger Badstuber, Mats Hummels, ; , ; , Mesut Ozil, ;
Italy Lineup (4-3-1-2):; , , ; , , ; ; ,
Interests: None, beyond tenuous transfer links, though I imagine most will be supporting Germany, either in hopes of the dream final against Spain, because Germany seem most likely to beat Spain, or because they simply like Germany.