Germany have scraped into the last four of Euro 2016, with a 6-5 penalty shootout victory over Italy, after drawing 1-1 in normal time.
It was stellar defensive display in the first 45 minutes from both sides, with half chances falling for Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller and Stefano Sturaro, but failed to capitalise.
It was similar in the second, with Alessandro Florenzi producing a great clearance before Mesut Özil opened the scoring. Mario Gomez had a great opportunity before a penalty from Leonardo Bonucci sent the game to extra-time.
As expected, the half-hour only produced a handful of chances from tiring legs but penalties always seemed inevitable. The pressure was clear to see in the shootout, with misses from Simone Zaza, Müller, Özil, Graziano Pelle, Bonucci, Schweinsteiger and Matteo Darmian before Jonas Hector sent Germany through.
Unstoppable force against a unmovable object
Many would have expected a defensive display, with Germany yet to concede and Italy unharmed with their starting back three against the Germans.
Germany had the two best opportunities of the first 45 minutes. The early substitute of Schweinsteiger looked to have made an instant impact when he had the ball in the net. His celebrations were short lived, as he was flagged up for a foul on Andrea Barzagli.
Müller had the best chance for the Germans right at the end, a wild shot from Toni Kroos found Schweinsteiger, who passed into the feet of Müller. The Bayern Munich looked surprised as he lashed at the shot, which ended up in the arms of Gianluigi Buffon.
Antonio Conte's side had a chance of their own, as Emanuele Giaccherini's ball from the by-line found Sturaro but his shot was deflected wide by Jerome Boateng.
Getting your nose in front
It was pretty much the same formula from both sides in the second period, but Antonio Conte's side would have been behind earlier if not for some great defending.
Müller looked to rectify his earlier chance as he received the ball from Gomez, he beat Giorgio Chiellini before his effort looked goal-bound, but a spectacular clearance off the heel of Florenzi saved their skins.
However there is nothing that he could do to prevent Joachim Löw's side, taking the lead with 25 minutes to play.
It was good play from Germany initially coming from Manuel Neuer's goal kick, the ball eventually came to Gomez who played it into Hector. His cross deflected off Bonucci which perfectly set up Özil to fire it home.
Lowe's side should have been two ahead when the over-the-top ball from Ozil found the chest of Gomez, the striker improvised with the back-heeled effort but Buffon did excellently to tip it over the crossbar.
Gomez was left to rue his missed opportunity as Italy were rightly handed a penalty, it was simple enough for Viktor Kassai to point to the spot, as Boateng had his hands up in the air from the free-kick. Bonucci put the ball on the spot and made no mistake, putting the effort just out of the reach of Neuer.
One final opportunity
The first period of extra-time produced little, to nothing of any relevance to either side, but the Germans somehow found some energy and produced some decent efforts in the second period.
Draxler was looking to make a difference from the bench, and almost did as he improvised from Schweinsteiger's floated ball, trying to hook he overhead kick but it was over the crossbar.
He then turned provider, but the ball was too heavy for Müller, who played it back to Schweinsteiger but his self-made volley was well over.
Insigne showed his potential with his fresh legs, as he showed great trickery to get past the defender but it was straight at Neuer.
Not a classic shootout
The German's are renowned the world over for their efficiency from the spot, but it seems misinterpreted from this performance from both sides.
Insigne and Kroos made sure it was normal service, but it went wrong went Zaza's peculiar run saw him sky over the crossbar, but Müller's tame effort made sure it stayed level.
Özil handed the advantage to the Italians as he clattered the post, but Pelle failed to capitalise as he stuck it agonisingly wide.
The German skipper Schweinsteiger, had the chance to win it all after Neuer saved Bonucci's effort but he cleared the bar and the contest continued.
Sudden death showed the sides normal form, with six penalties scored, however the chain was broken by Darmian whose effort was saved, and Hector sealed the win as he hit it under Buffon.