Mario Balotelli delivered Italy to an unexpected spot in the European Championship final Thursday, scoring twice in the first half to give Italy a 2-1 victory over Germany.

After his second goal, Balotelli stripped off his jersey and flexed his muscles in a defiant pose.

"This is the greatest night of my life, but I hope Sunday is going to be even better," Balotelli said, looking ahead to the final against defending champion Spain. "In the opening matches I had a lot of chances, and I wasn't able to finish them. But in football you also need luck."

In the 20th minute, Balotelli had no trouble getting past Holger Badstuber to head in a pinpoint cross from Antonio Cassano. Then in the 36th, he received the ball behind the defense and blasted a long shot into the top right corner.

Germany extended its winless streak against Italy in major tournaments to eight. The Germans failed to threaten for much of the match, although Mesut Oezil scored a consolation penalty in injury time.

"It's a very bitter defeat," Germany captain Philipp Lahm said. "We tried everything in the second half but our goal came too late. We have so much potential in our team but if we cannot give the right performance at the right time or are not clever enough, then we lose such a game."