by Darren Walsh

After last night, I expect a lot better from these teams.  In fact I want a repeat of 2006.

Pirlo is being talked up to the hilt of course.  Now he’s obviously a great player but after this build-up he’s bound to have a stinker.

Gianluca Vialli joins Klinsmann and Shearer in the studio; pretty good line-up of strikers there.

Discussing Pirlo’s penalty now, and Vialli says that a goalkeeper will always dive one way or another, Lineker disagrees and we are brought back to his miss against Brazil which would have tied the England goalscoring record.

Mark Lawrenson is working at what is a huge occasion, a match that will go down in history, and he sounds as excited as he would be if he was burying a beloved pet.

German fan with his hand on his chest for the national anthem which is fairly normal apart from the fact that he has a huge foam hand on.

Referee tosses the coin and almost fires it backwards over his head; you’d think he’d be better at it than that.

Some people may not like it, but I’m a big fan of player’s first names being read out by the announcer with the crowd roaring the surname, whether it’s the reading of the line-ups or identifying the goalscorer.

We haven’t had a goal in the tournament for three and a half games.  I feel good about a 3-3 thriller tonight.

Was that not handball by Pirlo on the goalline?  Oh now that I see another replay from behind the goal, it was his hip.

We see Cesare Prandelli on the touchline; he’s not wearing his ID card like everyone else, and why should he?  It would clearly ruin his look.

For such an experienced player, Buffon sure looks nervous.  He missed a cross earlier, and now has palmed out a cross that hit his own teammate.

Khedira kicks an advertising board after that chance; bit early to be frustrated.

As we know from tournaments over the years, Lawro isn’t a fan of the Germans and he has just came out with a “hair flick” joke that’s so hackneyed that even Stan Boardman would have been embarrassed to use it.

There’s a reason that so many managers have put up with Antonio Cassano despite him being a gigantic arse.  We’ve just seen the reason, with a beautiful spin past Mats Hummels and puts the cross on a plate for Balotelli to score.

Lots of camera shots of happy Italians and grim faced Germans, including a group who are dressed up and looking forlorn.  C’mon matey, you’re wearing a stovepipe hat!  Get happy!!

Still not the best fancy dress/football scene that I’ve witnessed though.  Nothing shall ever beat the Birmingham City fan bawling his eyes out about relegation while dressed as a banana.

Much like the England defence the other night, the German back line lose Balotelli.  A low shot to the bottom left perhaps?  Nope, not Mario’s style; just crack it into the near top corner instead.

When Vialli starts a thought, he keeps looking to Jurgen, as if he expects that he’s going to get a clout from the German.  Speaking of Jürgen, he’s gone from “manically happy” to “slightly maudlin”.  He’s still smiling a little, but it’s more rueful now.

Vialli compares Pirlo to a quarterback; if Martin Keown had come up with that he would have called him an NBA quarterback.

Rues and Klose are coming on.  Loew is giving them instructions and moving his right hand as he talks; he looks like he’s conducting an orchestra.

Vialli gives a parting thought before the match restarts, an extremely tortuous analogy about goals and ketchup bottles.  He was almost cut off in midsentence, which would have been deserved to be honest.

This line-up of pundits are immeasurably better than the usual ones though.

Marchisio is poleaxed by the ball, which as we all know hurts quite a bit, but there’s no sympathy from Lawro.  I now urge anyone who is playing football and sees him nearby to lump the ball at him and see how he reacts.

Well its better by Germany, but all we’ve seen is a good chance for Lahm and a fine save by Buffon from a Reus free kick.  They still look shaky at the back though; Balotelli will fancy a hat trick, as long as he isn’t subbed.  Or sent off even; don’t forget that he was booked for taking his shirt off.  In fact, scoring and doing the exact same thing for a second yellow would be an incredibly Balotelli thing to do.

Motta crunches into Kroos and Italy get the free kick; it really isn’t Germany’s night.

Di Natele has come on and is facing an AWOL German defence.  He could have had a hat trick if he could stay onside/not keep slipping.

Hmm we might have an interesting ending after all; Ozil knocks in a penalty given for handball.

All hands on deck for Italy, while Neuer is winning headers on the half way line, which isn’t a line I expected to type tonight.

Keown comes up with the Pirlo/Peerless quip; he’s the third person tonight to say it.  He also says that Italy showed a lot of “deficiency”.  It’s not good enough to say that; the thing that’s deficient has to be mentioned.  Deficiency is defined as a lack of something; you’re a football analyst Keown, you have to talk about what that deficiency is.  GAHHHH.

Anyway, Italy have pulled off the upset and will face Spain in the final.  Turns out a match fixing scandal really is proven to help them.