Balotelli: The most beautiful night of my life
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Mario Balotelli fired Italy into the UEFA EURO 2012 final, and then dedicated his brace against Germany to his adopted mother.

Balotelli's first-half double was enough to secure a 2-1 win over Germany in Warsaw in the EURO 2012 semi-finals, and book a final showdown against champions Spain on Sunday.

At the final whistle, the Manchester City star embraced Silvia, who brought him up from the age of two after he was born in Italy to Ghanaian immigrants. "After the game, when I went to my mum I said 'these goals are for you'," Balotelli said.

"I waited for this moment for so long and I wanted to make my mum happy. Tonight was the most beautiful of my life, but I hope that this Sunday is even better."

Balotelli broke the deadlock when he powered home Antonio Cassano's 20th-minute cross. His second was a superb strike from distance as he broke clear of the Germany defence to collect Riccardo Montolivo's through ball before blasting an unstoppable shot past Manuel Neuer.

It took Balotelli up to three goals for the tournament and he is now favourite to win the coveted Golden Boot prize. "In the final I hope to make it four," he said. "I will try to score another goal but in football you can do that a lot and still never score. Sometimes you need a bit of luck."

I waited for this moment for so long and I wanted to make my mum happy. Tonight was the most beautiful of my life, but I hope that this Sunday is even better. 
Mario Balotelli, Italian forward

Balotelli was quick to heap praise on his team-mates for their contribution to his performance, which surprisingly was not enough to secure the man-of-the-match prize, which went to playmaker Andrea Pirlo. "These two goals are really important," Balotelli said. "The first one was a really amazing pass from Antonio Cassano and then it was easy.

"The second one was a great pass from Montolivo, normally I shoot in the other corner but I went for the near post."

Italy have already drawn once with Spain at the start of the tournament. Now they must go one better if he is to prevent Manchester City team-mate David Silva guiding Spain towards history as the first team to win three successive tournaments. "With Spain we are the two best teams in the tournament," he said. "Can we win? I'll tell you on Sunday."

Balotelli also earned the praise of Italy manager Cesare Prandelli, who masterminded a famous win, which maintains the Azzurri's stranglehold on meetings with Germany. "He was excellent, like the entire team," said Prandelli.

"I really believe that a team needs to have an idea of the way they play, and he really subscribed to this playing style. He ran into space high up the pitch, was always available, and put in a very good performance this evening."