Italy Tops England in Penalty Shootout
Italy barged into the semifinals of the European Championship after beating England, 4-2, via penalty shootout at Kiev Olympic Stadium.
Substitute Alessandro Diamanti scored the winning penalty to send Italy into the final four against Germany Thursday in Warsaw, Poland.
Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo and Antonio Nocerino also scored for Italy while Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney scored for England.
Ashley Young had a chance to tie for England but he hit the crossbar while Ashley Cole's attempt was saved by Gianluigi Buffon.
"We played a great game and we deserved to win," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli told goal.com. "We did very well against a great side, we had so many chances to score, but we had to wait for the shootout."
"We showed a great spirit, we stopped England from scoring on the counter. In the final moments, they went for the long balls," he added.
"I can't fault any of the players, we had a lot running on empty at the end but they kept us in right until the end. Unfortunately it was Italy who got the breaks in the shootout," England manager Roy Hodgson said.
The game ended in a scoreless draw after 120 minutes of play despite both teams having clear cut chances to score in regulation.
Balotelli had a chance to score for Italy in the 99th minute unleashing a strike from the edge of the area but Joe Hart was there to block the attempt.
In the 101st minute, Diamanti's curling cross has Joe Hart scrambling but the shot hit the post.
Nocerino, another substitute, thought he had scored from Diamanti's cross in the 115th but was brought offside by Glen Johnson.
The Italians will have two days of rest before they face Germany and Prandelli admitted that the Germans are clear favorites.
"Let's now enjoy this victory, then we will think about the match against Germany," he said.
England's penalty curse struck again as Italy advanced to the semi-finals of Euro 2012 with victory in a shoot-out after a tense quarter-final duel finished 0-0 following extra-time. England fans looked on in horror as after 120 minutes of play their side lost 4-2
Italy round off semi-finalists, England pays penalty
The battle begins for a place in Euro 2012's final
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