Italy beats Germany

Published 7:17 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Maybe the World Cup is the easy part for Italy.

With scandal tearing apart the national sport back home, the Italians kept plowing through soccer’s premier event Tuesday night with a last-minute win just when it seemed a penalty shootout was inevitable.

Fabio Grosso twisted a left-footed shot into the far side of the net in the 119th minute, then Alessandro Del Piero clinched the 2-0 win a minute later with a counterattacking goal as the Germans pressed desperately to equalize.

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The swiftness of the goals was stunning — Germany had pressured for the game’s last hour. But Italy, which has allowed only an own-goal in six games, held off the hosts and crushed their hopes for a fourth title. Now the Italians head to Berlin for Sunday’s final in search of a fourth trophy of their own. They’ll play the winner of Wednesday’s Portugal-France match.

The Azzurri also won for the third time in five World Cup meetings with Germany, with two draws.