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Euro 2012: Germany, Italy battle for date with Spain in the final

View Photo Gallery: Italy’s Mario Balotelli, left, and Germany’s Mario Gomez are hoping for a berth in the Euro 2012 final.

Germany and Italy meet Thursday at 2:45 p.m. (ESPN) for the right to face Spain in Sunday’s Euro 2012 final.

It’s a nice semifinal matchup, the Associated Press says. Germany hasn’t beaten Italy in international play since 1995, and has only seven wins in 31 all-time meetings with Italy (including games as West Germany).

Their last three meetings on the biggest stages:

A 1-1 draw in the Euro 1988 opener in West Germany.

— A 0-0 group-stage draw at Euro 1996, in which Italy was knocked out of the tournament after Gianfranco Zola missed an early penalty shot. Germany also played much of the second half with only 10 men after Thomas Strunz was sent off.

A 2-0 Italy win at the 2006 World Cup semifinals in Germany. Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero scored extra-time goals two minutes apart for Italy.

Spain, which defeated Portugal on penalty kicks on Wednesday, is gunning for its third straight major tournament win, an unprecedented achievement. The Associated Press’s John Leicester defends Spain’s style of play, which is pretty easy to do (see: going for third straight major tournament win).

DisclaimerThis is a non-scientific user poll. Results are not statistically valid and cannot be assumed to reflect the views of Washington Post users as a group or the general population.

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.

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