Germany is onto a record sixth straight semifinal at a major competition after outlasting Italy in penalty kicks, 6-5, after a 1-1 draw in Bordeaux in their Euro 2016 quarterfinal clash.
Germany had never beaten Italy in competitive matches (four in their history) and had also made 21 straight spot kicks in tournament shootouts, but the reigning World Cup champions overcame the Azzurri for the first time on the grand stage and overcame missing three penalties during the shootout round to advance.
Jonas Hector scored the decisive penalty, sending Germany through after a shootout that included some horrible attempts but tremendous drama.
Perhaps no take was worse than that of Italy's Simone Zaza, who was subbed on in the 120th minute for the sole reason of taking penalties. His elaborate run-up resulted in a shot that was put well over the bar.
After Bastian Schweinsteiger skied his penalty, which would've clinched the win for Germany in the fifth round, it went to sudden death. Emanuele Giaccherini, Marco Parolo and Mattia De Scigilo all converted for Italy, but Matteo Darmian missed. Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich and Jerome Boateng all matched with Germany one miss away from elimination before Hector delivered the winner.
The day started ominously for Germany, which had to make in injury substitution 15 minutes into the game, with Sami Khedira coming off for Schweinsteiger. The veteran substitute came closest to scoring for either side in the opening half, heading in a ball from Hummels but only after delivering a two-handed shove to De Sciglio, and he was whistled for the foul, nullifying the goal:
Italy's best chance came in the 44th minute, after Giaccherini chased down a ball before it crossed the end line and cut back a cross through the box. Stefano Sturaro was able to lace a low blast from 16 yards, but it was deflected wide for a corner, which would up fruitless:
Thomas Muller, who scuffed a chance from the center of the box in the first half, had a great chance fall his way at the start of the second half. He tried to lace a ball into the far netting, but Alessandro Florenzi delivered a flying kick to push the ball around the post (it's possible Muller's shot was going wide anyway):
Mesut Ozil finally broke the deadlock in the 65th minute. Mario Gomez carried down the left side, slipping in a ball for Jonas Hector on the left side of the area. His deflected cross fell right for Ozil, and he fired home from eight yards out to give Germany a 1-0 lead:
Gomez nearly made it 2-0 only to be stoned by Gianluigi Buffon on his audacious back-heel attempt from close range:
Italy looked out of ideas, but it was given a gift in the 78th minute when a flailing Boateng handled the ball the in area. Center back Leonardo Bonucci was called upon to take the PK, and he delivered with a low hit to Neuer's left that pulled the match level at 1-1 and eventually send it to extra time:
Germany will play either host France or upstart Iceland in the semifinals on Thursday.