Italy remains unbeatable for Germany at the World Cup.
Juergen Klinsmann's drive to win Germany its fourth World Cup title ended 2-0 on Tuesday on a sultry evening in Dortmund, his team's favourite stadium.
Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero scored twice in the final minutes of extra time to seal the victory. Germany had not lost any of its previous 14 games in Dortmund, but it also never before had beaten Italy at a World Cup tournament. That tradition proved to be stronger.
Germany will now have to settle for the third-place match, while Italy go to Berlin for the championship game on Sunday against either Portugal or France. This was the fifth time Italy and Germany played at a World Cup, Italy winning two of the previous matches and two games ending in draws.
The 1970 semi-final also went into extra time, with Italy winning 4-3 in one of the most memorable games in World Cup history. Their most recent game until Tuesday had been the 1982 final, which Italy won 3-1.
This time, even the home crowd didn't help Germany. Klinsmann had hoped that the home advantage would be one of decisive factors in his team's march to the title. There was no lack of support in the capacity 65,000-seat stadium, but Italy's defence dealt with everything Germany could muster offensively.
Striker Miroslav Klose, who leads the tournament with five goals, tried hard but was virtually marked out of the game. His partner Lukas Podolski wasted a couple of chances. Michael Ballack was Germany's most enterprising player but the captain remained scoreless in the tournament.
Klinsmann's contract runs out at the end of the tournament and he has been vague about his future.There have been reports that the US Soccer Federation has approached him to become coach of the US team.
Klinsmann chose to continue living in California until shortly before the World Cup and he won't be resettling in Germany despite such calls from many German soccer officials.