Italy's football team scored a dramatic 2-0 victory in extra time over host Germany to advance to the World Cup championship match.

Germany had never lost in 14 previous matches played here in Dortmund over 71 years, and Italy had never lost a match to Germany in a World Cup, with two wins and two draws, so something had to give.

Both teams played with intensity, going end to end for 90 minutes and nearly all of the 30 minutes of extra time without finding the net.

Germany had won its quarterfinal against Argentina on penalty kicks, and just when it seemed this scoreless battle would be headed for a shootout, Italy struck twice in the closing moments of extra time.

Defender Fabio Grosso blasted in a shot from the right side of the box into the upper left corner of the goal, and barely more than a minute later, just before the final whistle, forward Alessandro del Piero broke free on a counterattack and scored to put an exclamation point on the victory.

Italian coach Marcelo Lippi, said he believed his team deserved the victory. "In my opinion we controlled the match. We didn't have so many chances [to score], but the match didn't have so many chances. But anyway, we controlled the match, and I'm really, really happy with all the effort of my players, because, after all we played also against 50,000 people,the German supporters, the German supporters who were fantastic and we scored two excellent goals, which avoided us [prevented us from] having to go to penalty kicks, and you know that's always a lottery," he said.

German coach Juergen Klinsmann said it was a difficult match to lose. "We knew it was going to be a very, very tight game, similar to the game we had against Argentina. We were well prepared for 120 minutes, and both sides had their chances. Italy had good chances. They hit the post twice in the beginning of the extra time. We had some good chances, too, to score an earlier goal, and then it was down to two goals at the end of the game," he said.

Klinsmann was proud of his German team, a team which had not been expected to even reach the quarterfinals at this World Cup. "We can only make compliments to that [my] team. It's a very young team. They did great. They did fantastic throughout the whole tournament. Also before the tournament, the preparation. I mean it's amazing the spirit they show, the character. They gave all their heart and all their passion and everything there was in them, and I think they made our whole country really proud," he said.

The Germans are not done at the tournament. They will play for third place on Saturday in Stuttgart against the loser of Wednesday night's semifinal between France and Portugal. The winner of that match will meet Italy for the World Cup title on Sunday in Berlin.


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