Italy versus England, as promised, was a tense match from the get-go, as Daniele De Rossi nearly buried the English in the third minute with a slicing left footed volley from 25 yards that ultimately hit the post and caromed away from danger. This was quickly followed by a Glen Johnson chip, deftly swiped away by Gianluigi Buffon, in the fifth minute.
And that was about all she wrote for English chances, beyond a glancing header from Wayne Rooney that sailed past the mark, Italy dictated the run of play, possessing the ball 64% of time and launching 35 shots (20 on goal), while the English only managed 9 shots (4 on goal). So while the scoreboard was reflective of the supposed similarities between these squads (during regular time), when you look at the stats, especially the sheer amount of shots and time of possession, it's clear that Italy was the better team tonight. Though, they have to consider themselves a bit lucky, particularly given all the scoring opportunities squandered, that they didn't suffer an ignominious defeat from an English set piece.
But it was not to be for the English, as Italy dispatched the Three Lions in penalties 4-2, highlighted by a daring chip shot from the foot of Andrea Pirlo, Buffon turning away Ashley Cole and Alessandro Diamanti burying the winner, sending Italy to the next round to play Germany.
What might be news to the English is painfully obvious to Roma fans...Andrea Pirlo is amazing.
A Thursday date in the semifinals against Die Mannschaft awaits Gli Azzurri.