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Despite surviving a few scares, Italy finally turned on the style and beat Ukraine in a 3-0 win and waltzed into the semi-finals of the World Cup and a date with hosts Germany in Dortmund on Tuesday.
Luca Toni's brace sealed the win after Gianluca Zambrotta got the ball rolling
Luca Toni scored twice as Italy beat Ukraine 3-0 in the World Cup quarter-finals in Hamburg on Friday to set up a mouth-watering last four clash against hosts Germany.
Gianluca Zambrotta, who earlier this week flew back to Italy to visit his stricken former Juventus team-mate Gianluca Pessotto after an apparent suicide attempt, gave the three-time champions an early lead with a left-footed shot.
Toni's close range header near the hour mark put the Azzurri firmly in the driving seat after a spell of heavy Ukraine pressure, and the giant Fiorentina marksman doubled his tally by tapping in Zambrotta's cross.
Italy's second goal came shortly after Gianluigi Buffon pulled off a superb save to deny Oleg Gusev, with Zambrotta blocking Anatoliy Tymoschuk's follow-up on the goal line.
Ukraine's Andriy Gusin's header hit the bar shortly after Toni had made it 2-0.
Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko, who spent seven years playing in Italy for AC Milan before signing for English champions Chelsea last month, was superbly snuffed out by a well-drilled Azzurri defence.
The match between Germany and Italy, which will be played in Dortmund on Tuesday, is a repeat of the 1982 final which the Italians won 3-1.
Gianluca Zambrotta celebrates after scoring the first goal
Midfielder Mauro Camoranesi, recalled to Italy's starting line-up to provide extra width on the right, threatened first, firing wide after a robust run through the middle in the fourth minute.
Defender Zambrotta's strike settles Italy's nerves
Italy went ahead through an unlikely source in the sixth minute.
Zambrotta played a one-two with Francesco Totti before firing a low drive past Oleksandr Shovkovskyi.
Ukraine came out fighting at the start of the second half and they might have levelled the score had it not been for Buffon's quick reflexes.
Francesco Totti was inspired against Ukraine
Gusin's downward header looked goal bound, but the Italy keeper managed to claw the ball away and picked up a bump on the head in the process after falling back onto the post.
Hot-shot Toni settles tie with double strike
Buffon came to Italy's rescue again when he palmed away Gusev's angled shot, and although Tymoschuk was first to the loose ball, Zambrotta was on hand to keep out the rebound.
Toni eased Italy's jangling nerves in the 59th minute, meeting Totti's left-wing cross with a meaty header. And Toni had the final word 10 minutes later when he nudged Zambrotta's cut-back over the line from a yard out.
The last time Italy reached the semi-finals of the World Cup was in 1994 when they went on to the final only to lose to Brazil on penalties.