KIEV, June 25 - RIA Novosti. Italian football team made their way to the semifinals of the European championship, defeating the team of England on penalties.
Quarterfinals held in Kiev ended with the score 0-0 in regulation time and extra time. In a series of 11-meter penalties Italians were stronger - 4:2.
England coach Roy Hodgsondid not make a surprise to his opponent Cesare Prandelli and didn't change the squad that came out victorious in the final group stage match with Ukrainians. Italian expert also did not consider Euro quarter-finals the area for the experiments with the squad, and made a couple of forced changes. As expected, defender Giorgio Chiellini and midfield player Tiago Motta failed to help the team, even though the latter, according to the coach, was ready to enter the field this time. They were replaced by Leonardo Bonucci and Riccardo Montolivo, respectively. The appearance of Mario Balotelli, who replaced Antonio Di Natale, can be attributed to a number of unexpected changes.
Despite the co-operation of the teams, long wait for an important match, judging from the first minutes of the game, had a negative impact on the actions of the players of both teams. They looked too chaotic from the stands of the "Olympic". The desire to play gently led to the opposite result, and this was especially traced in the English team - nervousness was felt.
It was at the gates of the pioneers of soccer where the first chances to score appeared. And pretty soon, in the third minute of the game. Daniele De Rossi took the ball 20 meters from the gate and got a chance to freely shoot. Midfielder of "Roma" did not want to lose this opportunity and sent the ball into a beautiful flight, which was interrupted by a goal post.
The episode forced the British to pull themselves up, so much so that their first attack had all the chances to finish a goal. James Milner was on the right flank and sent the ball into the central zone of the penalty area, where there was a defender Glen Johnson. He failed to score only due to the skills of Gianluigi Buffon.
Actually, this strike was the only one for the British in the first half. Having missed the opportunity, they have had initiative for about ten minutes, but they managed to do nothing.
The Italian team has felt its superiority over the rival to the 20th minute of the game. Balotelli "laid the foundation" of a series of unused moments.
English striker almost punished him and his entire team for such wastefulness in response attack, which was completed by Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck. A star player of "Manchester United" brought his partner and the club to the excellent position to strike, but Welbeck's strike turned out inaccurate - the ball flew above the gate.
The first half ended with a series of dangerous attacks by Italian national team. From the 38th to the 42nd minute, Antonio Cassano and Balotelli made several dangerous attacks from the middle distance. During this time period, they could have become the authors of scoring combinations. Balotelli did not have a second to win the fight on the line of goalie area.
In the second half, the advantage of "Squadra Azzurra" became even more palpable. At the very beginning, De Rossi was one right next to the goalpost of English team, but he failed to strike the ball.
After that, Balotelli, who refused to strike, again came to the fore. However, it should be noted that he had created the opportunity to strike himself, edging out the rival body when receiving the ball.
By the middle of the half, the advantage of England became pervasive. Even a double substitution, who has removed Milner and Welbeck from the field, has not changed the situation. Theo Walcott and Andy Carroll did not change the balance of forces on the field.
By the end of regular time, only two British attacks could get the status of dangerous. In the 64th minute, Ashley Young almost freely struck from 15 meters. Inaccurate.
In the course of the second half, Prandelli changed the scheme of the game of his team, Cassano was replaced by Alessandro Diamanti. And then he replaced De Rossi by Antonio Nocherino.
It was for the first time, when the regular time of the current championship ended with the score 0:0.
The teams did not also succeed to score a goal during overtime.
The fate of the game was decided in a penalty shootout. Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo, Nocherino and Diamanti realized Italian attempts to score, only Montolivo failed. Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney scored. Young hit the crossbar, Buffon saved the penalty from Ashley Cole.
In the semi-finals of Euro 2012, the team of Cesare Prandelli will play with the German national team. The game will be held in Warsaw on June 28.
Ukraine (Ukrainian: Україна, transliterated: Ukrayina) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Russia to the east; Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west; Romania and Moldova to the southwest; and the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to the south. The city of Kiev (Kyiv) is both the capital and the largest city of Ukraine.