EURO 2012 Italy Defeats England On Penalties 4-2

 

Mario Ballotelli v Joe Hart

EURO 2012 Italy Defeats England On Penalties 4-2

Alessandro Diamanti scored the decisive kick to send Italy through to the European Championship semifinals with a 4-2 win on penalties following a 0-0 tie with England. The clash was the first scoreless match at Euro 2012.

Italy will next play Germany in the semifinals on Thursday in Warsaw, Poland.

Germany v Italy Tickets EURO 2012 Semi-Final 28 Jun 2012 20:45 National Stadium Warsaw Warsaw, Poland

Defending champion Spain plays Portugal on Wednesday in Donetsk, Ukraine.

Mario Ballotelli was the youngest player left on the pitch for Italy Euro 2012 for the shootout against England. When it came time to begin the penalty kicks that Italy would eventually win, Balotelli came forward and volunteered his perfect eight-for-eight penalty record over the last three years to begin the shootout. Smiling, Mario extended his perfect record scoring his penalty shot against Man City club teammate Joe Hart.

Penalties by Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo, and Antonio Nocerino scored the four points for the Azzurri. Riccardo Montolivo missed Italy's second penalty. His shot went wide of Joe Hart's right post as the England goalkeeper guessed correctly.

"We deserved this victory," Diamanti said. "The penalties rewarded our dominance during the match. It's only fair, we played a great match and battled from the first to the last minute."

Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney scored England's penalties.

Ashley Young hit the crossbar with England's third, and Ashley Cole's attempt was stopped by Gigi Buffon.

"It's obviously a hard way to go out," England striker Wayne Rooney said. "And it's maybe happened too many times now.".

Rooney gave England a 2-1 lead.

Then Pirlo's bold piece of skill leveled it 2-2.

"I just saw that the goalkeeper was moving a bit earlier so I decided to play it the other way," Pirlo said. "It just comes to you at that moment and it went well."

"We have done the country proud, but again we go home with heartbreak and it's difficult to take," said Gerrard, who played in both those previous shootout losses.

Lineups

England: Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, John Terry, Ashley Cole, James Milner (Theo Walcott, 61), Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker (Jordan Henderson, 94), Ashley Young, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck (Andy Carroll, 60).

Italy: Gianluigi Buffon, Ignazio Abate (Christian Maggio, 90), Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Federico Balzaretti, Daniele De Rssi (Antonio Nocerino, 80), Riccardo Montolivo, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano (Alessandro Diamanti, 78).

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