While experienced penalty-takers Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Mueller were among those who failed from the spot in Germany's Euro 2016 shoot-out victory over Italy on Saturday, novices Jonas Hector and Joshua Kimmich notched key conversions.

And it was fitting that Hector, who only established himself in the Germany side during the Euro qualifying campaign, could bag the winner and set up a semi-final clash with France or Iceland in Marseille on Thursday.

"I knew I had to take one at some point and I had my heart in my mouth," the 26-year-old Cologne full-back said.

"It's hard to put into words, but I am overjoyed that it went in. There weren't many people left to kick."

Hector had stepped up to take Germany's ninth kick of the marathon shoot-out so there were only two people left behind him in the queue.

But after Manuel Neuer had saved from Matteo Darmian moments earlier, Germany had their second chance to secure victory - and after Schweinsteiger had scooped high over the bar, Hector did not fail.

In truth it was not the best penalty ever taken but it was low and ended up in that awkward area for keepers not especially close to the post - Gianluigi Buffon actually dived over the ball and it sneaked into the net under his wrist.

"We're happy to have gone a round further, it was really stressful and of course luck played its part," Hector admitted.

Hector had played an impressive game, bombing up and down the left flank as part of Germany's fresh 3-5-2 system, a tactical switch made by coach Joachim Loew for this match.

He was sound defensively, posed a threat going forward and it was his cross which deflected into the path of Mesut Oezil for the opening goal.

Though at his first tournament, Hector has a bit more experience than his opposite number on the right side, Bayern Munich's Joshua Kimmich.

He too converted a penalty when, with his coming in sudden-death, a miss would have sent his country home.

On a couple of occasions early in the second half Kimmich did threaten to get caught too far in field as Italy switched the ball rapidly to his flank but such errors were rare - and, crucially, went unpunished.

"Usually, we have good penalty-takers, even though there were some misses," Loew said. "It was great that the youngsters like Kimmich and Hector kept their nerves on such a stage."

Loew will decide whether Kimmich and Hector return to traditional full-back roles for the semi-final or stay pushed further up the pitch, which he made abundantly clear he expects to be against France, rather than Iceland.

"Of course, if you are in the semi-finals, your goal is the final," Loew said. "So I think now we have to focus on recovering.

"A game like this affects the body. We have to make sure the players recover, it was a great effort. We were superior throughout the game, I think we had two or three chances more than them."

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.