Semifinal 2, Euro 2012: Open Thread

Big stage for Toni Kroos.

Spain through to yet another final. Experts in penalties, all of a sudden. Now another old-world rivalry, but this one has been more competitive over the years.

Germany vs. Italy, 2:45 pm ET (ESPN)

Lineups:

Germany (4-2-2-2): Neuer; Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm; Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Kroos, Özil; Podolski, Gomez.

Italy (4-2-2-2): Buffon; Chiellini, Balzaretti, Barzagli, Bonucci; Marchisio, De Rossi; Montolivo, Pirlo; Balotelli, Cassano.

How they got here:

Germany: Group B winner. Defeated Portugal (1-0), defeated Netherlands (2-1), defeated Denmark (2-1). QF: defeated Greece (4-2).

Italy: Group C runner-up. Drew Spain (1-1), drew Croatia (1-1), defeated Ireland (2-0). QF: defeated England (0-0, 4-2 in PKs).

Match Preview:

Germany: The best team so far at Euro 2012. Up against its toughest test today, but back to a full-strength lineup. Mario Gomez has been on form, while Mesut Özil has shown glimpses of his immense potential. Will be a tough out at this tournament and for years to come.

Italy: Do they have enough creativity? Mario Balotelli needs to kick his game up a notch. Giorgio Chiellini returns at left back, while sparkplug Alessandro Diamanti remains on the bench. Looking for penalties again, perhaps.

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