The Manchester City striker is known for his unpredictability both on and off the pitch, but while he had blown hot and cold in Poland and Ukraine ahead of Thursday night’s clash, he produced a searing performance in Warsaw.
Balotelli got things rolling for Cesare Prandelli’s side when he headed home Antonio Cassano’s cross from close range in the 20th minute after some poor defending from the Germans.
But the striker’s crowning moment came 16 minutes later as he raced onto Riccardo Montolivo’s through ball and smashed a sizzling shot past Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Germany were handed a last-gasp lifeline when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Federico Balzaretti’s handball in second-half stoppage time and Mesut Ozil made no mistake converting, but it was too little too late for Low’s men, who have never beaten Italy in a competitive game.
The Azzurri will now take on holders and world champions Spain in Kiev in Sunday’s decider.