Alessandro Diamanti scored the decisive penalty kick Sunday to give Italy a 4-2 shootout win over England and a spot in the European Championship semifinals.
Ashley Young hit the crossbar with England’s third, and Ashley Cole’s attempt was then saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon diving to his left.
Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo and Antonio Nocerino also scored for Italy. Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney scored England’s penalties.
Italy will next play Germany in the semifinals on Thursday in Warsaw, Poland.
For England, it was yet another exit from a major tournament in the quarterfinals after a penalty shootout. England lost to Portugal in the same manner at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.
Italy dominated the match, which ended 0-0 after 120 minutes of play. The Italians twice hit the post, but were also let down by poor composure in front of goal. Diamanti clipped the post with a curling cross in the 101st minute, and swept a clear shot wide.
Nocerino thought he had scored from Diamanti’s cross in the 115th but was offside.
Daniele De Rossi hit the post in the third minute, and Buffon saved a shot from Glen Johnson in the fifth. It was England’s first scoring chance and proved to be its best.
The first scoreless match at Euro 2012 was neither dull nor lacking good football.
Italy’s attacking desire and creativity under coach Cesare Prandelli had playmaker Andrea Pirlo at its heart. Italy had 35 attempts on goal, compared to only nine for England.
Keywords: Euro 2012
Article source: http://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/article3566671.ece