10 years ago today, Mario Balotelli scored his iconic brace against Germany in the Euro 2012 semi-finals.
The Italian forward, who was about to join Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City, had a fairly anonymous tournament prior to the semi-final clash, netting only once in a group game against Ireland.
In a rematch of one of the most memorable World Cup semi-finals in recent memory, Italy again prepared to face Germany on June 28 at the PGE Narodowy in Poland. Despite the tension, the Azzurri got off to a flying start as Balotelli headed home his first of the night after 20 minutes, catching Antonio Cassano’s cross well.
16 minutes later, Balotelli scored what could possibly be the seminal goal of his career. A well-placed long pass by Riccardo Montolivo was controlled deftly by the forward, who then stormed down the pitch to face Manuel Neuer. Just as he was entering the penalty area, he struck a cannon-like shot straight into the top right corner, giving the Azzurri a 2-0 lead.
Italy won the match 2-1 and both Ballotelli’s goals and his iconic celebration after the second became part of Azzurri history.