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Italy exit Euro 2016 after penalty loss to Germany

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A dramatic penalty shootout sent Italy packing after a fantastic match.

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

For the first time ever, Italy have fallen to Germany in a competitive match. After playing to a 1-1 stalemate over 120 minutes, a wild and dramatic penalty shootout ended in Germany's favor, sending Gli Azzurri home from the Euros early.

The match was, despite its detractors, a brilliantly played game. Germany and Italy were very evenly-matched tactically, with masterclass performances from their wingbacks, Leonardo Bonucci, and Emanuele Giaccherini, and Germany enjoying excellent showings from Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer in the first half.

That opening 45 minutes was played close and fast, with both teams struggling to get things together in the final third despite impressing up to it. The second half got opened up a bit more, with adjustments in Germany's approach leading to a goal from Mesut Özil 20 minutes into the half, and Italy earning a penalty off a bizarre handball on a corner that Leonardo Bonucci put away coolly to put a goal past Manuel Neuer for the first tournament goal he's given up since the World Cup.

That was the last of the scoring we'd see in the match, though, with Germany unable to find their way past Antonio Conte's defense and Italy struggling to get a cohesive attack going thanks to Graziano Pelle and Eder struggling badly in the final third. Once Lorenzo Insigne was finally substituted in in the second half of extra time, he did everything he could to spark Italy to a goal, including being at the core of three threatening attacks -- but in the end he just didn't have enough time to find a goal.

That lead us into the penalty shootout, and Napoli fans were greeted by Insigne drilling the first shot of the shootout. From there, though the wheels fell off -- Simone Zaza had one of the most hilarious misses you'll ever see, and both sides would miss two shots in a row to send the shootout to sudden death. We saw some bizarre misses and excellent strikes, but finally Matteo Darmian couldn't beat Manuel Neuer and Jonas Hector squirted his shot under Gianluigi Buffon. Italy lost, Germany advanced to the semifinals, and just like that, the Antonio Conte era of the national team ended.

It was a major let-down after a brilliant Italy performance, but it's not as though Germany weren't excellent as well. They're the defending World Cup champions, after all, and have had an excellent run of their own in Euro 2016 -- and in the end, they were just barely better than Italy.

Germany: Manuel Neuer; Benedikt Höwedes, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels; Jonas Hector, Sami Khedira (Bastian Schweinsteiger 15'), Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich; Mesut Özil; Thomas Müller, Mario Gomez (Julian Draxler 72')

Goals: Özil (65')

Italy: Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini (Simone Zaza 120'); Alessandro Florenzi (Matteo Darmian 86'), Stefano Sturaro, Marco Parolo, Emanuele Giaccherini, Mattia De Sciglio; Eder (Lorenzo Insigne 108'), Graziano Pellè

Goals: Bonucci (pen. 78')