Bordeaux: Manuel Neuer says his determination to stop Leonardo Bonucci's second spot-kick of the evening was the key to Germany's dramatic 6-5 penalty shoot-out win over Italy in Saturday's Euro 2016 quarter-final.
Neuer, voted the world's best goalkeeper for the last three years, saved kicks from Bonucci and Matteo Darmian in the marathon 18-penalty shoot-out after the match finished 1-1 at the end of extra time in Bordeaux.
The Bayern Munich goalkeeper said he had been annoyed when Bonucci's 78th-minute penalty had cancelled out Mesut Ozil's opening goal in regular time.
And he was determined to stop the defender scoring in the shoot-out after Simone Zaza and Graziano Pelle had also failed to hit the target for Italy.
"I have never experienced a penalty shoot-out like that before, it really lasted a long time," said Neuer, who won the man-of-the-match award.
"The two which I managed to stop I still have in my head and the others just shot straight down the middle.
"I didn't want to let Bonucci score twice, so I stopped his shot."
Neuer came out on top in the battle of the world's top goalkeepers as Germany squeezed past Gianluigi Buffon's Azzurri.
The 38-year-old veteran bowed out of the tournament despite saving Thomas Mueller's penalty.
Buffon trudged off struggling to hold back the tears, but he has already said he wants to play through until the 2018 World Cup finals.
Germany will now face either hosts France or Iceland in the semi-finals in Marseille next Thursday without Mats Hummels.
The centre-back says his 90th-minute booking caused him some personal pain as his second yellow of the tournament rules him out of the game.
"It's a long walk to the penalty spot," he said after his penalty hit the net via Buffon's fingers.
"I was glad Buffon only got his fingertips to it.
"The second yellow card hurts now, but it means my battered body has two or three extra days to recover," he added with an eye on next weekend's final.
Jonas Hector, who drilled home Germany's winning spot-kick in the shoot-out, said his heart was in his mouth.
The Cologne defender, 26, held his nerve to slot the ball low past Buffon with Germany's ninth penalty attempt.
"We're happy to have gone a round further, it was really stressful and of course luck played its part," Hector said.
"It's hard to put it into words, but I am overjoyed that it went in. There weren't many people left."
Jerome Boateng was annoyed to have conceded Bonucci's equalising penalty, awarded by Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai, after the ball deflected off his upper arm.
"I think we were the better team, but despite that it was a hard fight," said the Bayern defender.
"The penalty (he gave away) was stupid, I pulled my hands away, so as to not concede a foul, but I couldn't get them down quick enough.
"A penalty shoot-out is luck, but we had Manu (Neuer).
"The other goalkeeper was also not bad," he said, paying the defeated Buffon a compliment.
First Published On : Jul 3, 2016 10:57 IST