Penalty kicks sink England at Euro again

Alessandro Diamanti of Italy celebrates after scoring the winning penalty against England. LAURENCE GRIFFITHS / Getty Images
Alessandro Diamanti of Italy celebrates after scoring the winning penalty against England. LAURENCE GRIFFITHS / Getty Images
Posted: June 26, 2012

KIEV, Ukraine - Alessandro Diamanti scored the decisive penalty kick Sunday to send Italy to the European Championship semifinals with a 4-2 win in the shootout following a 0-0 tie with England.

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

Italy will play Germany on Thursday in Warsaw. Defending champion Spain will play Portugal on Wednesday in Donetsk, Ukraine, in the other semi.

Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo - with an audacious slow chip shot down the middle of the goal - and Antonio Nocerino also scored for Italy. Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney scored for England.

The match ended 0-0 after 120 minutes of play. The Italians twice hit the post, and were thwarted by some poor play in front of the goal. Diamanti clipped the post with a curling cross in the 101st minute, and swept an open shot wide in the best chance of the second period of extra time.

Nocerino, another substitute, thought he had scored from Diamanti's cross in the 115th but was offside.

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.

The first scoreless match at Euro 2012 was neither dull nor lacking good play. Italy had 35 shots, compared to only nine for England.

England had briefly led the shootout after Riccardo Montolivo missed Italy's second penalty. His shot went wide of Joe Hart's right post as the England goalkeeper guessed correctly.

Rooney then sent Buffon the wrong way, firing in his spot kick to the keeper's right to give England a 2-1 lead.

The momentum shifted after Pirlo tied it at 2.

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