28 June 2012

Balotelli Sends Italy to the Euro 2012 Final!

Mario Balotelli was sensational for Italy as The Blues knocked out a German team that I thought would make the final of Euro 2012.  The people in Warsaw's National Stadium got to see one of the world's best on display as Balotelli scored both of Italy's goals in the 2-1 win.

Click here for ESPN's GameCast of the match.  Balotelli's first goal came in the 20th minute as he received a perfect cross from Antonio Cassano.  Watch the replay of the goal and you'll see Cassano on the left side of the penalty area.  He kicked the ball with his left boot, and the ball was spinning clockwise (as seen from above).  There was so much spin on the ball that the Magnus force pushed it left to right (as seen from Cassano's viewpoint).  By the time the ball reached Balotelli's head, which was centered about 5 m (5.5 yards) from the goal, the ball had a velocity component toward Balotelli.  It was the perfect cross into the box and Balotelli nailed it.

Balotelli's second goal came in the 36th minute as the German defense let him slip through for a shot at the goal about 16.5 m (18 yards) out.  This goal was pure power.  Click on the image below for a larger view of the trajectory of Balotelli's goal.

The red curve shows the actual trajectory; the blue curve shows what the trajectory would have looked like had there been no spin on the ball.  Balotelli smashed the ball with his right boot with a right-to-left motion as he drove his foot into the ball.  That gave the ball a clockwise (as seen from above) rotation that caused the ball to veer toward the upper right corner of the goal. Balotelli thus kicked a "screwball" in the baseball sense (click here for my post from six days ago on that topic).

I estimate that Balotelli's shot took about 0.544 seconds (after averaging several viewings of the goal) to reach the goal plane.  The ball's initial speed was 32.7 m/s (73.1 mph).  Couple that enormous speed with a screwball effect and Manuel Neuer, Germany's goal keeper, had no chance whatsoever to prevent the goal.  All Neuer could do was what the rest of us did -- watch with awe the power and beauty of Mario Balotelli's game-winning shot.

1 comment:

  1. Italy were simply fantastic, they defended well and Pirlo,DeRossi,Cassano were on top of their game. Balotelli has the potential to be one of the world-class strikers. For Euro 2012 Italy & Spain jerseys: http://www.footballshirtrepublic.com/