Stat Line Of The Night — 6/28/12 — Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli is always capable of making an impact on the match every time he steps on the pitch. The only question is whether that impact is going to be one that hurts or helps his team. During yesterday’s Euro 2012 semifinal match against Germany, the Italian striker had a large impact on the game, and it was of the latter variety, as he proved his doubters wrong with what may forever go down as his greatest performance in an Azzurri uniform.
With few giving the Italians a chance against the heavily favored Germans, Balotelli gave everyone reason to believe, as he helped Italy get out to a 1-0 lead when he headed home an Antonio Cassano cross in the 20th minute. He would follow that up with another goal 16 minutes later, as he took down a long ball from Riccardo Montolivo, and with only German keeper Manuel Neuer between him and the goal, he blasted the ball into the top corner of the net. It was a blistering shot that Neuer could only watch soar past him, and it gave the Italians an important 2-0 lead.
The Azzurri would surrender a penalty kick to the Germans late in second half injury time, but that was as close as their opponents would get, as Balotelli’s brace helped Italy book a spot in the finals. And on an individual level, those two goals put Balotelli in a tie for top spot in tournament scoring (five players tied with three goals), while earning him “The Stat Line of the Night” for Thursday, June 28, 2012.