England suffered penalty agony once more as Italy won a shoot-out after the Euro 2012 quarter-final finished goalless in Kiev.
Italy were vastly superior to England over the course of 120 minutes - but the resilience and organisation that have swiftly become the trademark under new manager Roy Hodgson took an enthralling game to penalties.
And, as on five of the previous six occasions England have entered this sudden-death environment, they were left heartbroken, with Italy confirming a semi-final meeting with Germany in Warsaw on Thursday.
England captain Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney were successful from the spot, but Ashley Young struck the bar and Ashley Cole's effort was saved by Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon.
"Italy were far superior to England. What impressed me was technically they controlled the game, but also they were physically stronger. That surprised me, and they deserved to get into the semis where they will expect a good clash with Germany. I had hopes for England but to be honest they didn't deserve it because they could not keep tempo with Italy, they didn't close down spaces and it was too big a mountain to climb."
Mario Balotelli scored Italy's first spot-kick but Riccardo Montolivo's miss gave England hope that was cruelly snatched away as Andrea Pirlo audaciously chipped in his spot-kick and Antonio Nocerino coolly slotted home before former West Ham midfielder Alessandro Diamanti scored the decisive penalty.
England cannot complain that the better team did not emerge as winners - but even in the face of a constant wave of Italian attacks Hodgson's men still showed enough heart and durability to make their Euro 2012 exit with pride.
As Italy subjected them to what was almost torture by possession, England's back four and goalkeeper Joe Hart responded magnificently by erecting a wall of defiance, with John Terry outstanding.
England will head for home on Monday after a campaign they can reflect on with a measure of satisfaction despite the disappointment. Hodgson - at short notice - marshalled his forces effectively but the gulf in class with Italy was clear and his team looked jaded long before the end.
Hodgson will now take stock of events in Ukraine, where England drew with France and won against Sweden and Ukraine to top Group D, as he plots the qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
ENGLAND PENALTY WOE
- England's penalty record stands at six defeats and one win from seven shoot-outs at major tournaments.
- They lost to Germany in 1990 and 1996, to Argentina in 1998, to Portugal in 2004 and 2006 and to Italy in 2012.
- They beat Spain in 1996.
- From 35 shoot-out penalties taken they have scored 23.
Hodgson picked England's first unchanged team since the miserable last-16 encounter with Germany at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa - a show of faith in the side that beat Ukraine in Donetsk.
England were almost given the worst possible start when, after a prolonged period of possession, De Rossi's swerving left-foot volley hit the post with Hart stretching in vain to make contact.
If this was an ominous start for England, they responded with an opportunity of their own when Glen Johnson found space in the area but could not get sufficient power in his shot and Buffon was able to claw the ball away.
England's opening spell had been their best of Euro 2012. It was almost capped with a goal in the 13th minute when the dangerous Johnson crossed for Rooney but he could only glance a header over the top.
Balotelli had been his usual combination of threat mixed with moments of infuriating slackness. He was slow to react to the peerless Pirlo's pass and allowed Terry to make a fine recovering tackle, then forced his Manchester City team-mate Hart into a save from a low effort.
England had lost the measure of control they had exerted for a spell, but there was still much to encourage Hodgson, particularly when Rooney opened up Italy's defence and Danny Welbeck should have done better than sidefoot wide from the edge of the area.
Balotelli was again involved as he closed in on Antonio Cassano's header six yards out but was left hacking at the post in frustration as Terry and Joleon Lescott combined to clear.
Italy continued to control possession after the break and England were fortunate to survive a chaotic incident in which Hart saved from De Rossi and Balotelli before Montolivo diverted the rebound over the bar.
Hodgson knew he needed to shift the momentum away from Italy and he chose to try to do it with a double substitution on the hour, replacing Welbeck and James Milner with Andy Carroll and Theo Walcott.
Both were involved as England managed to unsettle Italy, only for Young's close-range effort to be deflected following muscular work from Carroll.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli introduced Diamanti in an attempt to pierce England's stubborn resistance and he swiftly forced Hart into a smart save.
The game continued to absorb into the closing seconds of normal time as Johnson produced a crucial block to stop Italian substitute Nocerino, while Rooney almost stole the win for England with an overhead kick at the other end.
England made a quick change in extra time as Jordan Henderson replaced Scott Parker but Italy still held the initiative, with Diamanti's attempted cross bouncing of the upright to safety.
Nocerino then had the ball in the net with a header as penalties loomed, but it was rightly ruled out for offside.
So it went to penalties - and a familiar tale of woe as England were again the victims of this cruellest form of defeat.
- 01 Hart
- 02 Johnson
- 03 Cole
- 06 Terry
- 15 Lescott
- 04 Gerrard
- 11 Young
- 16 Milner (Walcott - 61' )
- 17 Parker (Henderson - 94' )
- 10 Rooney
- 22 Welbeck (Carroll - 60' )
- 13 Green
- 23 Butland
- 05 Kelly
- 12 Baines
- 14 Jones
- 18 Jagielka
- 07 Walcott
- 08 Henderson
- 19 Downing
- 20 Oxlade-Chamberlain
- 09 Carroll
- 21 Defoe
- 01 Buffon
- 06 Balzaretti
- 07 Abate (Maggio - 90' Booked )
- 15 Barzagli Booked
- 19 Bonucci
- 08 Marchisio
- 16 De Rossi (Nocerino - 80' )
- 18 Montolivo
- 21 Pirlo
- 09 Balotelli
- 10 Cassano (Diamanti - 78' )
- 12 Sirigu
- 14 De Sanctis
- 02 Maggio
- 03 Chiellini
- 04 Ogbonna
- 05 Motta
- 13 Giaccherini
- 22 Diamanti
- 23 Nocerino
- 11 Di Natale
- 17 Borini
- 20 Giovinco
Live Text Commentary
Alessandro Diamanti scores a penalty. England 2-4 Italy on penalties.124:46
A save by Gianluigi Buffon from penalty by Ashley Cole.124:15 Penalty
Antonio Nocerino scores a penalty. England 2-3 Italy on penalties.123:46
Spot kick missed by Ashley Young.122:49 Penalty
Penalty scored by Andrea Pirlo. England 2-2 Italy on penalties.121:59 Penalty
Wayne Rooney scores a penalty. England 2-1 Italy on penalties.121:22
Penalty missed by Riccardo Montolivo.120:44 Penalty
Steven Gerrard scores a penalty. England 1-1 Italy on penalties.120:05 Penalty
Penalty scored by Mario Balotelli. England 0-1 Italy on penalties.120:01
The referee calls the first player forward to start the penalty shoot-out.120:00 +0:38
The match is going to penalties.119:50
Claudio Marchisio gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wayne Rooney.119:30
Centre by Cristian Maggio.119:02
Foul by Steven Gerrard on Alessandro Diamanti, free kick awarded. Cristian Maggio restarts play with the free kick.118:16
Effort from outside the penalty box by Riccardo Montolivo goes wide left of the goal.117:59
Cristian Maggio produces a cross.116:08
Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Alessandro Diamanti.114:19
The ball is crossed by Alessandro Diamanti. Antonio Nocerino is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.113:37
The ball is crossed by Cristian Maggio.112:30
The ball is crossed by Federico Balzaretti, Effort from inside the area by Alessandro Diamanti misses to the left of the goal.
Cristian Maggio takes a shot. Blocked by Ashley Cole.110:19
Free kick awarded for a foul by Andy Carroll on Claudio Marchisio. Mario Balotelli fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick.109:58
A cross is delivered by Alessandro Diamanti, Joleon Lescott manages to make a clearance.109:39
The ball is swung over by Andrea Pirlo, clearance by Andy Carroll.108:47
Ashley Young challenges Cristian Maggio unfairly and gives away a free kick. Alessandro Diamanti crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Andy Carroll manages to make a clearance.107:46
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Cristian Maggio by Andy Carroll. Andrea Pirlo restarts play with the free kick.107:15
A cross is delivered by Alessandro Diamanti.106:51
The ball is delivered by Cristian Maggio, John Terry makes a clearance.105:01
The referee blows to start the second half of extra time.105:00 +0:44
The ball is delivered by Theo Walcott.101:54
Unfair challenge on John Terry by Mario Balotelli results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.100:45
Centre by Alessandro Diamanti.99:11
Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart.98:09
Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.97:30
Effort from 25 yards by Mario Balotelli. Joleon Lescott gets a block in.97:09
The ball is crossed by Ashley Young, save made by Gianluigi Buffon.95:22
Alessandro Diamanti crosses the ball, blocked by Joleon Lescott.93:07
Steven Gerrard takes the direct free kick. Joleon Lescott is ruled offside. Gianluigi Buffon restarts play with the free kick.93:07 Substitution
Substitution (England) makes a substitution, with Jordan Henderson coming on for Scott Parker.93:07 Booking
Booking The referee shows Cristian Maggio a yellow card.92:58
Cristian Maggio challenges Ashley Young unfairly and gives away a free kick.92:06
Shot by Antonio Nocerino from outside the box goes over the target.90:43
Alessandro Diamanti sends in a cross, clearance by John Terry.90:00 +3:29
Normal time is of over and the game goes into extra time.90:00 +2:22
Wayne Rooney produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.90:00 +2:13
Centre by Ashley Cole.90:00 +1:51
The ball is crossed by Wayne Rooney, clearance made by Andrea Barzagli.90:00 +1:27
Andrea Pirlo takes a shot. Blocked by Scott Parker.90:00 +0:38 Substitution
Substitution Cristian Maggio on for Ignazio Abate.89:12
The ball is swung over by Alessandro Diamanti, clearance made by Glen Johnson.88:49
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Andrea Pirlo from the right by-line.88:33
Antonio Nocerino takes a shot. Glen Johnson gets a block in.86:33
Andy Carroll takes a shot. Blocked by Federico Balzaretti.85:59
Mario Balotelli is penalised for a handball. Direct free kick taken by Joe Hart.82:58
Scott Parker takes a shot. Federico Balzaretti gets a block in.81:39
The free kick is delivered right-footed by Steven Gerrard from left channel, clearance made by Andrea Barzagli.81:39 Booking
Booking Booking for Andrea Barzagli for unsporting behaviour.81:31
Ashley Young fouled by Andrea Barzagli, the ref awards a free kick.80:24
Alessandro Diamanti takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.79:11 Substitution
Substitution Antonio Nocerino joins the action as a substitute, replacing Daniele De Rossi.78:33
Corner taken left-footed by Alessandro Diamanti from the right by-line, save made by Joe Hart.78:27
A cross is delivered by Claudio Marchisio, Scott Parker gets a block in.77:35 Substitution
Substitution Antonio Cassano leaves the field to be replaced by Alessandro Diamanti.75:36
Andrea Barzagli challenges Andy Carroll unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by Steven Gerrard, save by Gianluigi Buffon.74:55
Claudio Marchisio takes a shot. Blocked by John Terry.74:36
Riccardo Montolivo takes a shot. Joleon Lescott gets a block in.73:33
Riccardo Montolivo concedes a free kick for a foul on Scott Parker. Joe Hart takes the free kick.68:37
Ignazio Abate delivers the ball, blocked by Ashley Young.67:51
Unfair challenge on Andrea Pirlo by Andy Carroll results in a free kick. Daniele De Rossi takes the free kick.67:26
Riccardo Montolivo challenges Ashley Cole unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ashley Cole takes the direct free kick.66:48
Shot from 25 yards by Daniele De Rossi. Joleon Lescott gets a block in.65:45
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andrea Barzagli by Wayne Rooney. Leonardo Bonucci restarts play with the free kick.64:14
Theo Walcott crosses the ball. Ashley Young takes a shot. Ignazio Abate gets a block in. Corner from the left by-line taken by Steven Gerrard, Andy Carroll gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrea Barzagli. Gianluigi Buffon restarts play with the free kick.62:07
The ball is sent over by Andrea Pirlo, Effort from deep inside the area by Daniele De Rossi misses to the left of the target.61:01
The referee blows for offside against Antonio Cassano. Joe Hart takes the direct free kick.59:54 Substitution
Substitution Theo Walcott replaces James Milner.59:54 Substitution
Substitution Andy Carroll comes on in place of Danny Welbeck.59:32
Shot from deep inside the area by Mario Balotelli goes over the bar.59:23
Ignazio Abate crosses the ball, Ashley Cole gets a block in.56:54
Centre by Antonio Cassano. The ball is delivered by Federico Balzaretti, clearance made by Steven Gerrard.55:48
Outswinging corner taken by Andrea Pirlo, clearance by Joleon Lescott.51:47
Riccardo Montolivo produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the crossbar.51:34
Daniele De Rossi takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart. Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Save made by Joe Hart.51:19
Ignazio Abate produces a cross, clearance made by John Terry.50:22
Scott Parker challenges Andrea Pirlo unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Andrea Pirlo.49:27
Mario Balotelli fouled by James Milner, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ignazio Abate.48:55
Corner taken by Steven Gerrard from the left by-line, clearance by Leonardo Bonucci.47:12
The ball is sent over by Antonio Cassano, blocked by Glen Johnson. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Andrea Pirlo, Joe Hart makes a save. Close range shot by Daniele De Rossi goes wide of the right-hand upright.47:03
Ignazio Abate crosses the ball, Glen Johnson manages to make a clearance.45:40
James Milner sends in a cross, Claudio Marchisio makes a clearance.45:01
The second half has started.45:00 +0:10 Half time
Half Time The whistle is blown to end the first half.43:43
The ball is crossed by Mario Balotelli, comfortable save by Joe Hart.43:21
Free kick awarded for a foul by Glen Johnson on Mario Balotelli. Free kick taken by Mario Balotelli.42:33
Shot on goal by Mario Balotelli from long range goes harmlessly over the target.40:42
Andrea Pirlo crosses the ball. Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Ashley Cole gets a block in. Outswinging corner taken by Andrea Pirlo. Wayne Rooney gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Daniele De Rossi. Direct free kick taken by Andrea Pirlo.40:05
Antonio Cassano takes a shot. Joleon Lescott gets a block in.38:43
Unfair challenge on Daniele De Rossi by Scott Parker results in a free kick. Andrea Pirlo restarts play with the free kick.37:28
Antonio Cassano takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.37:10
John Terry concedes a free kick for a foul on Antonio Cassano. Daniele De Rossi restarts play with the free kick.32:53
Antonio Cassano has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.31:41
Effort on goal by Danny Welbeck from just inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.31:08
Mario Balotelli has an effort at goal from 12 yards. Save by Joe Hart.28:23
Riccardo Montolivo has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide left of the goal.24:54
Effort on goal by Mario Balotelli from 20 yards. Blocked by John Terry.24:38
James Milner delivers the ball, Leonardo Bonucci makes a clearance.22:34
Free kick awarded for a foul by Mario Balotelli on Joleon Lescott. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.21:14
Antonio Cassano has an effort at goal from outside the area which goes wide right of the goal.20:15
Corner taken right-footed by Andrea Pirlo from the left by-line, Danny Welbeck manages to make a clearance.18:14
The ball is swung over by Steven Gerrard.16:54
The ball is swung over by Federico Balzaretti.16:11
Foul by Joleon Lescott on Mario Balotelli, free kick awarded. Andrea Pirlo takes the free kick.15:19
Centre by Wayne Rooney.14:41
The ball is swung over by Federico Balzaretti, Steven Gerrard makes a clearance.13:37
Glen Johnson crosses the ball, Wayne Rooney produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.12:42
Unfair challenge on John Terry by Mario Balotelli results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Joe Hart.12:01
The ball is sent over by James Milner, save by Gianluigi Buffon. Effort from outside the box by Scott Parker goes wide right of the target.11:44
The ball is crossed by Glen Johnson.11:03
Steven Gerrard takes the inswinging corner, Leonardo Bonucci manages to make a clearance.8:35
The ball is sent over by Ashley Young, Federico Balzaretti manages to make a clearance.8:21
The ball is delivered by Steven Gerrard, Leonardo Bonucci manages to make a clearance.7:22
Free kick awarded for a foul by Antonio Cassano on Joleon Lescott. Joe Hart restarts play with the free kick.6:41
Foul by Danny Welbeck on Andrea Pirlo, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Claudio Marchisio.4:37
The ball is delivered by James Milner, Glen Johnson takes a shot. Save by Gianluigi Buffon.2:57
Daniele De Rossi takes a shot from outside the penalty box and hits the post.1:57
A cross is delivered by Federico Balzaretti.0:53
Mario Balotelli takes a shot. Save by Joe Hart.0:00
The match begins.
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