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Italy ousts England 4-2 on penalties, throught to Euro semis

(Xinhuanet.com)

10:26, June 25, 2012

KIEV, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Substitute Alessandro Diamanti, only on his third cap, struck the decisive penalty to help Italy oust England 4-2 on penalties here on Saturday to set up a Euro 2012 semifinal clash with Germany.

The regular time of the eye-catching quarterfinal ended in 0-0, which was the first goalless tie of the tournament. After the goalless extra time, the penalty shootout began with Italian striker Mario Baltelli's flash goal.

However, Italian midfielder Riccardo Montolivo shot wide in the second round, and both Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney scored to lift England to a 2-1 lead. After Andrea Pirlo tied the score 2-2 with a mysterious dink, both Ashley Young and Ashley Cole failed in their attempts. Young missed the target and Cole's shot was saved by Gianluigi Buffon. As Antonio Nocerino and Diamanti sent the ball home, Italy won.

England coach Roy Hodgson said after the duel, "We tried our best and we took penalties in training."

Both Young and Cole showed their form in penalties before but today the luck was not on their side, Hodgson said.

Italian coach cesare Prandelli told the press conference, "We controlled the game and created many chances. We would have opportunities to end the game in regular time. We deserved the win."

"To win a penalty shootout, I think, luck accounts for 80 percent," Prandelli said. "Pirlo's dink showed his calmness. Although Montolivo missed his penalty, he was great tonight in the regular and extra time."
Answering a question about why Baltelli was chosen to be the first one in the shootout, Prandelli said," He himself asked for it and we all trust him."

Commenting on the match, Prandelli said," The opponents did not want to come out, so we have to play quickly. We dominated the match especially in the second half."

Italy boasted 64 percent of ball possession and 35 shots, 20 on target, against England's nine and four.

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