Miroslav Klose made a record fifth semifinal appearance in a major international tournament after coming off the bench in tonight’s 2-1 defeat against Italy to end a career night in disappointing fashion.
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli struck twice in the first half to send the Germans trailing 2-0 at half-time.
Germany manager Joachim Low accordingly made two quick substitutions, replacing Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski with Marco Reus and his own disappointing Mario (Bayern’s Gomez) with Klose.
The Lazio striker boasts of an interesting track record in that his nation wins every match he has scored in. And although he has scored quite a bit in the past, tonight was simply not meant to be.
Mesut Ozil pulled back a late goal from the penalty spot but that only proved to be a consolation for Klose, who has previously reached at least as far as the semis in World Cup 2002 (final), 2006, and 2010, as well as the final of Euro 2008.
The 34-year old is now poised to end his international career without winning a major international trophy with Germany but his consistency on the national stage has been rewarded with several individual accolades.
He is the second all-time top scorer in the FIFA World Cup history with 14 goals and is the only one to have netted at least four times in three separate campaigns.
Klose is also the only player to have scored five World Cup goals in consecutive tournaments en route to becoming Germany’s second all-time top scorer with 64 goals.
While Klose and his teammates will head home yet again after falling short of glory, the 2006 world champions Azzurri march on to Sunday’s final against the 2010 world champions and the defending European champions Spain.