PENALTY ANGUISH FOR HODGSON'S ENGLAND

Posted on: Sun 24 Jun 2012

England suffered penalty shoot-out heartbreak once again as Italy progressed to a Euro 2012 semi-final against Germany, after 120 minutes of football failed to separate the two sides.

The first half began at a frenetic pace with good chances at both ends.

Daniele De Rossi hit the post with a wonderful strike from distance, while a minute later Gianluigi Buffon made a stunning point-blank stop from Glen Johnson, who should have scored.

John Terry, who was magnificent throughout at the heart of the England defence, then made a great block from Mario Balotelli with the Italian clean through on goal.

De Rossi went close again just after the break, volleying wide after being picked out at the far post.

England's best chance of the second half came right at the death when Wayne Rooney acrobatically volleyed an Andy Carroll header over the bar.

Extra-time saw both teams fail to register any worthwhile attempts on goal, and so it was down to penalties.

Balotelli scored first, before Steven Gerrard levelled for England. Ricardo Montolivo drove his effort wide for Italy, as Rooney scored to put England in the ascendancy. However, with both Ashley Young and Ashley Cole missing and Andrea Pirlo and Antonio Nocerino scoring, the stage was set for Alessandro Diamante to send Italy through, which he duly took.