For too long, Italy has been the face of antifutbol: all defense, low scoring, dirty plays, and tough to watch. Enter Prandelli and suddenly this team flows. Andrea Prilo is free to roam, Montolivo can create plays, Cassano drifts forward and Balotelli, well, he is Balotelli.
We have seen a true revolution in the Italian national team, one that resembles Germany's shift while under Joachim Loew, or Spain under Luis Aragones. The Italians have slowly imposed their new style and speed upon their comptition in a slow, constant, naturally Italian manner. It was still low scoring, but scoring when and where it counts.
Like any true aspiring champion, Italy saved its best for the semifinal and against a team that knows how to attack and muscle their way to win matches. Germany has its own flavor and formula for winning: Boateng-Ozil-Gomez, and variations thereof, but when their attack is neutralized by Bonucci, Berzagli, Chiellini and Balzaretti, and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, then their game is gone. It is the best of Italy.
And yet, added to all the antifutbol qualities that may still exist and are inherent in the Italian game, one thing is for sure: Mario Balotelli. Perfect header for the first goal and a Romario-esque cannon blast that Neuer didn't even try to save for the second goal. That's what Italy needed and what has been missing from this team in the past. A new way to the goal, a different perspective, a faster outlook, a means to allow Pirlo and Montolivo to create beautiful soccer. Forza Italia, their final against Spain will be fun to watch.