England pay the penalty again

  • Last Updated: June 25 2012, 8:11 BST

England's penalty shoot-out misery continued in Kiev on Sunday night as they crashed out of Euro 2012.

  • Ashley Young and Ashley Cole missed from the spot for England
  • Andrea Pirlo outshone Wayne Rooney with a dominant display for the Azzurri 
  • It was agony for Joe Hart but ecstasy for Man City team-mate Mario Balotelli 
  • Roy Hodgson thanks the travelling England fans for their support 
  • The pain is clear to see for England skipper Steven Gerrard 

After Mario Balotelli's talk of Peter Pan, the semi-finals of a major tournament are becoming the equivalent of Never Never Land for the Three Lions.

Six times now they have lost in such fashion, the last four at this stage of the competition.

On Sunday night it was the turn of Ashley Young and Ashley Cole to join the unhappy list of those whose nerve failed them when it mattered.

  • Italy have beaten England 4-2 on penalties in the quarter-finals after 120 minutes of Azzurri domination.
  • England fans look forward to the most important game of the tournament so far, as the Three Lions prepare to take on Italy.
  • Mario Balotelli starts tonight ahead of Antonio Di Natale, after coming off the bench to score a spectacular overhead kick against Ireland.
  • The national anthems are blared out and the teams take up their positions. Time for kick-off.
  • An early scare for England as the ball falls to Daniele De Rossi, whose sliced shot from distance beats Joe Hart but slams against the post.
  • England have their first spell of possession, and Milner manages to find Johnson in the box. He scoops his shot goalwards but Buffon saves and Italy clear.
  • Italy have another great chance as Balotelli beats the offside trap. However he hesitates on the ball and Terry is able to recover and block the shot.
  • England are again on the attack and a clever flick from Rooney finds Welbeck, but the Manchester United man misfires and the chance goes begging.
  • Balo has yet another chance, Cassanno heads the ball into his path. A last ditch Lescott challenge denies the Italian and his frustration is evident.
  • The whistle goes and England have survived the first half. Better still they have looked a threat going forwards and will continue to press the Italians.
  • The second half begins with another Italy chance as the ball falls to an unmarked De Rossi, who shoots wide from 5 yards.
  • The Azzurri come again, this time Montolivo comes close firing the ball just over the bar. England are clinging on.
  • England have one last attack, which sees the ball sit up for Rooney, but his bicycle kick flys over the bar. 90 minutes are up and extra time will follow.
  • England narrowly survive the first half of extra time, with Italy's pressure now relentless; Diamanti striking the post with a curling effort.
  • Substitute Nocerino has the ball in the back of the net as he nods home from Maggio's cross. But the linesman's flag is up. No goal!
  • The decision has gone England's way and that's it for extra time. Penalties await.
  • After Balotelli and Gerrard score the first two penalties, Montolivo steps up. He fires wide and Rooney scores to give England a 2-1 lead.
  • Andrea Pirlo calms Italian nerves with a cool chip, before Ashleys Young and Cole miss to give Italy a chance to win it.
  • Former West Ham man Diamanti steps up to take it. He makes no mistake and sends Joe Hart the wrong way. Italy are through. England are out.
  • It's an all too familiar feeling for England as the Three Lions leave a major tournament on penalties once again.
  • Italy will head to Warsaw to face Germany in the semi-finals and battle for a place in the Final.
Pictures from England's 4-2 penalty loss in the quarter-finals at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

Both men needed consoling as Italy began their celebrations as, outplayed for long periods of an absorbing game, all England's defensive effort proved in vain.

It means Italy march onto Thursday's semi-final with Germany in Warsaw and leaves Roy Hodgson to pick the bones from an otherwise impressive tournament in time for next autumn's World Cup qualifiers.

Before the drama, all those pre-match predictions of a tight, cagey affair had been blown to bits inside the opening five minutes.

  • Italy
Team Score Team
England 0 - 0 Italy
Italy 2 - 0 Rep Irelan
Italy 1 - 1 Croatia
Spain 1 - 1 Italy

Claudio Marchisio picked out Daniele de Rossi with a peach of a cut-back.

From 25 yards, De Rossi let fly with a spectacular first-time volley, which curved away from Joe Hart's despairing dive, only to crash back off the post.

Starved of possession in those early stages, England eventually countered through Glen Johnson.

The Liverpool defender continued his run after laying a pass off to Ashley Young and was picked out inside the box by James Milner.

Had the chance fallen to a striker, England surely would have scored.

As it was, Johnson took vital seconds manoeuvring the ball into a position from which he could shoot, and when he did, Gianluigi Buffon stood firm to make an excellent one-handed save.

They were the most notable efforts of a surprisingly open start, during which Wayne Rooney sent a diving header over and Andrea Pirlo released Mario Balotelli, only for John Terry to rescue the situation with a vital tackle.

No-one could help when Riccardo Montolivo's disguised pass looped over the England defence and dropped invitingly for Balotelli, whose volley went straight to Hart.

Team Score Team
England 0 - 0 Italy
England 1 - 0 Ukraine
Sweden 2 - 3 England
France 1 - 1 England

At the other end, Danny Welbeck's precise effort sailed over after he had run onto Rooney's return pass.

It was spellbinding stuff, with Italy having the edge in craft and guile, whilst also looking vulnerable when England attacked at pace.

Balotelli's notoriously fragile temperament resulted in him lashing out at a post after spurning another opportunity, which Pirlo and Antonio Cassano combined to provide.

He ended the half driving over from long-range, extending a contribution substantially more effective than Rooney, whose failure to pick out a team-mate with a cross under no pressure was symptomatic of a player struggling to find his form.

England were caught cold straight after the interval when Marchisio found De Rossi in the box, only for the midfielder to mis-kick a volley wide from barely four yards when he had the time to do much better.

It was the start of an onslaught that had England teetering on the brink as Pirlo took command in imperious fashion.

At 33, the midfielder now assumes the Paul Scholes-role for his country, dropping deep and dictating the tempo, and for a while, England were powerless to stop him.

Terry denied Balotelli at the far-post with a thunderous clearing header, then Hart repelled De Rossi's long-range effort and also Balotelli's follow-up.

Montolivo got to the loose ball first but his shot sailed over.

Hodgson had seen enough and after Balotelli's overhead kick had gone over, Andy Carroll and Theo Walcott were introduced.

With Italy making changes as well, the game lost its shape, so, as had been imagined, extra-time was required.

After their defiant rearguard action, it would have been galling in the extreme for England's defences to be breached by a fluke.

Fortunately, what was intended as a cross by former West Ham man Alessandro Diamanti clipped the far post after Hart reacted too late to the danger it was posing.

Antonio Nocerino thought he had won it six minutes from the end but his header was correctly ruled out for offside.

It merely delayed the inevitable.

That England led after the first two rounds of penalties to give hope, only made defeat all the more crushing as Diamanti delivered the final blow.

Teams:

England Hart, Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole, Milner (Walcott 61), Gerrard, Parker (Henderson 94), Young, Rooney, Welbeck (Carroll 60).

Subs Not Used: Green, Kelly, Baines, Jones, Jagielka, Downing,

Oxlade-Chamberlain, Defoe, Butland.

Italy Buffon, Abate (Maggio 90), Barzagli, Bonucci, Balzaretti, Pirlo, Marchisio, De Rossi (Nocerino 80), Montolivo, Balotelli, Cassano (Diamanti 78).

Subs Not Used: Sirigu, Chiellini, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Di Natale,

Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, De Sanctis.

Booked: Barzagli, Maggio.

Italy win 4-2 on penalties

Att: 56, 500

Ref: Pedro Proenca (Portugal).