DORTMUND: Italy scored two sensational late goals in extra-time to book their place in the World Cup final for the first time in 12 years with their 2-0 win crushing the dreams of host nation Germany here on Tuesday.
Normal time had failed to produce a goal in the semi-final clash and it looked like penalties were on the cards deep into extra-time.
But Italian defender Fabio Grosso scored deep into extra-time with a brilliant curling effort and substitute Alessandro Del Piero added a second to break Germany's hearts.
Del Piero, who has so often failed to produce his abundant talent for the Italians, was understandably emotional afterwards given that a former long-time Juventus team-mate Gianluca Pessotto apparently tried to commit suicide last week.
"We came up against a very strong opponent," said the 31-year-old.
"But we showed that we had the will power to beat them. "I dedicate this win to Gianluca Pessotto," added del Piero, who last week flew back with team-mate Gianluca Zambrotta to see the stricken Pessotto.
Grosso was almost lost for words at scoring in such an important match. "I am drunk with joy, I haven't got much to say only that it is a victory for a strong group of people," said the 28-year-old Palermo defender.
Italy, who won the last of their three titles in 1982 beating West Germany 3-1, will face either France or Portugal in Sunday's final at Berlin's Olympic Stadium.
For Germany a third place play-off in Stuttgart on Saturday will be little consolation.
Germany had never lost in Dortmund but Italy produced their best display of the tournament to reach the final and give the football fans back home something to celebrate in the wake of Serie A's match-fixing scandal.
Germany manager Jurgen Klinsmann was forced to rejig his starting line-up after football's governing body FIFA suspended midfielder Torsten Frings for hitting Julio Cruz in the post match melee that followed the quarter-final win over Argentina.
Sebastian Kehl, playing on the ground where he plays for Borussia Dortmund, deputised for Frings.
With the bulk of the 65,000 fans jeering their every touch Italy may have been intimidated but they were far from it and their clever passing triangles caused untold problems.
On the quarter hour mark Italy had a great opening but Simone Perrotta's first touch failed to match the quality of Francesco Totti's pass and goalkeeper Jens Lehmann blocked his toe-poked shot.
Germany had a good chance of their own in the 33rd minute after Italy lost possession in midfield but Bernd Schneider fired his shot over the crossbar.
At half-time the score was 0-0 - in stark contrast to their last meeting in March when Italy led 3-0 in Florence at the interval. The score finished 4-1 to Italy that night but there was no chance of such a goals fest in this match.
A 0-0 stalemate meant extra-time - a first for Italy at these finals, but not for Germany who needed 120 minutes and penalties to defeat Argentina.
The opening of extra-time saw Italy twice hit the woodwork with Alberto Gilardino hitting the post and Gianluca Zambrotta rattled the crossbar seconds later.
It looked like penalties would decide the match but Grosso and Del Piero struck to shellshock Klinsmann and the home fans .