Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo was named Man of the Match in the Italy-Germany semifinal at 2006 World Cup here on Tuesday.
Pirlo, 27, was exceptional as both a ball-winner and a playmaker in the centre of the Italian midfield during Italy's 2-0 semi-final win over Germany, and it was his threaded pass that led to the goal that broke the deadlock in the 119th minute.
Pirlo was key to Italy's ability to maintain a clear advantage in possession, as he was instrumental in managing the Italians' passing movements through midfield and at breaking up Germany's attempts to counterattack. It was the AC Milan player's vision and touch that created the game's first goal.
"Pirlo is the Man of the Match because he was the playmaker and during the entire game he played superbly in front of the defence, " said FIFA Technical Study Group member Gyorgy Mezey.
"He always did the right things at the right moments, and he also was very smart in the last assist for Fabio Grosso," Mezey added.
Midfield dynamo Pirlo has matured into one of AC Milan and Italy's most important players.
Comfortable in either a defensive, controlling midfield role or in a more advanced position, Pirlo came to the fore after his move to AC Milan.
He had a difficult spell at Milan's city rivals Inter earlier in his career, but with the Rossoneri he has won the UEFA Champions League in 2003 and the league title in 2004.
Creative, with excellent passing ability and capable of producing brilliant free-kicks, Pirlo won a gold medal at the UEFA European U-21Championship in 2000.
He then played at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, winning bronze in Athens, and also featured at Euro 2004.