25 Jun 2012

Arrivederci England as Italy win on penalties

England exit the Euro 2012 football championship at the quarterfinals stage, losing out to Italy 4-2 on penalties in Kiev after a goalless 120 minutes of open play.

An England fan and an Italy fan show contrasting emotions as England crashes out of Euro 2012 (Reuters)

Although it came down to spot kicks in the end, England could not argue as they had been second best while holding Italy in a goalless draw for 120 minutes.

Italy had much the best of the first game of the knockout stage to go to extra time, managing more than 30 attempts at goal. Daniele De Rossi, with a swerving 25-metre shot after three minutes, and Diamanti both hit the post.

Riccardo Montolivo, twice, and Mario Balotelli, several times, also went close, while Antonio Nocerino had a 114th minute headed goal correctly ruled out for offside as England’s defence was continually cut open, after they had started well and gone close themselves through Glen Johnson and Wayne Rooney.

Penalty shoot-out

With the score at 0-0 after 120 minutes, it was time for the thing England fans dread, the penalty shoot-out.

After Mario Balotelli and Gerrard began confidently, it was advantage England when Riccardo Montolivo struck wide. English hopes were high when Wayne Rooney put away his effort.

However, Ashley Young rattled the bar and then Ashley Cole’s effort was saved by Gianluigi Buffon, while Andrea Pirlo and Antonio Nocerino found the back of the net, before Alessandro Diamanti gave the Azzurri an unassailable 4-2 lead to confirm England’s elimination from a major tournament in familiar circumstances.


England manager Roy Hodgson insisted no amount of practice can prepare teams for the trauma of a penalty shoot-out.

“They’d all done extremely well in practice but you can’t reproduce the tension, the occasion, the nervousness.

“This sort of cool, calculated way that Pirlo had to have the confidence to chip the goalkeeper – you either have that as a player or you don’t, and no amount of coaching or training will help reproduce that.”

Haven’t I seen that somewhere before? England’s penalty shoot-out track record

World Cup 1990 Despite a good start to the shoot-out with Gary Lineker, Peter Beardsley and David Platt all scoring their penalties, England could not hold their nerve. For every penalty England scored the Germans netted their own. Stuart Pearce then had his penalty saved by Bodo Illgner, before Chris Waddle blasted his kick way over the crossbar as England crashed out.

Euro ’96
England claimed their first and so far only shoot-out success in the quarter-final against Spain, as Pearce redeemed himself for his 1990 miss by holding his nerve at Wembley, while David Seaman’s save from Miguel Angel Nadal’s kick took them into the last four. But the penalty jinx returned against Germany, with Gareth Southgate’s weak effort saved by Andreas Kopke as the semi-final shoot-out entered sudden death. Andreas Moller scored Germany’s final penalty as England failed to bring an end to 30 years of hurt.

Euro 2004
Another 2-2 draw meant a shoot-out, and this time England made a dreadful start as Beckham blasted the first kick over the bar. England scored their next two and Portugal missed one which meant England were back in the game. After John Terry, Owen Hargreaves and Ashley Cole all bagged their penalties the score was 5-5. Darius Vassell then had his penalty saved and the Portuguese goalkeeper Ricardo put the ball past Seaman and England were out once again.

World Cup 2006
Two years later in Germany at the World Cup, the two teams met again in the quarter-final. A goalless draw meant that England were once again facing penalties. Portugal scored their first and then Frank Lampard’s effort was saved. Portugal went on to miss their next two, with Hargreaves scoring, but Gerrard was unable to press home England’s advantage as his shot was saved. Portugal’s Helder Postiga then netted his penalty, and Jamie Carragher missed. Cristiano Ronaldo sealed England’s exit from the spot.