England vs Italy – Euro 2012 Live Blog

England vs Italy

Euro 2012

Quarter Final

19.45 BST

The last quarter final will decide who goes on to face Germany, who looked impressive against Greece. Both teams have had moments of quality, but have perhaps not played to their best. England had a massive stroke of luck when John Terry cleared a ball from behind the goal line and managed to hand England the win. Italy drew with Spain and Croatia, and beat a terrible Irish team. It’s not exactly world-beating. Though if Spain remain the favourites, it might be world-drawing.

Balotelli will start for Italy, presumably because of his spectacular finish against Ireland, and the trouble he caused the Croatian defense. I mention Balotelli because official statistics report that matches and firework displays are 63.4% more entertaining when he is involved.

England: Hart; Johnson, Terry, Lescott, Cole; Milner, Parker, Gerrard, Young; Rooney, Welbeck.Subs: Green, Kelly, Walcott, Henderson, Carroll, Baines, Jones, Jagielka, Downing, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Defoe, Butland.

Italy: Buffon; Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Balzaretti; Marchisio, De Rossi, Pirlo, Montolivo; Balotelli, Cassano.Subs: Sirigu, Maggio, Chiellini, Ogbonna, Thiago Motta, Di Natale, Giaccherini, Borini, Giovinco, Diamanti, Nocerino, De Sanctis.

Players to watch:

Balotelli. I suppose Rooney as well.

Right, not long to go. Get that pizza ordered and put on the colour of your chosen nation for the evening. I’m wearing purple. Take from that what you will.

Apologies for quality, good versions have been removed by UEFA – that Balotelli goal against Ireland.

And something good to do with England, so you don’t think I’m giving away any bias.

FOOTBALL’S COMING HOME!

Ahem.

KICK OFF!

Ridiculous countdown is ridiculous.

1 min.

Italy kick off in front of a relatively quiet crowd. They push the ball forward and Balotelli takes a shot from some distance, which gently rolls into the hands of Hart.

2 min.

Italy go forward again with a long searching ball. It’s cleared eventually to Abate, and Italy go forward again. Abate passes to Marchisio who crosses from the right to De Rossi 30 yards out. He thumps it at goal, rattling the left post and leaving Joe Hart standing still.

Italy have pace up front and on the flanks, with a solid defense and Pirlo running the midfield. This could be a tough night for England.

4 min.

England get their first chance. Johnson receives a cross in the box. Stops and looks at the ball, gifted to his feet, and stabs a shot from close range at Buffon, who stops it with one hand, then catches it as it drops. Great save, England should be ahead.

5 min.

England have sprung to live now, coming forward again, Parker gets to the edge of the Italian box but he’s dispossessed and the ball is cleared.

8 min.

Young crosses from the left in to Milner in the Italian box, it’s cleared and Italy can break. Cassano moves down the left and passes forward toward Balotelli, but his pass is poor and runs on to Hart.

10 min.

Parker takes the ball from Balotelli on the left and plays it forward to Rooney, who crosses in. The ball is cleared as Welbeck looks to reach it. Corner to England. Gerrard takes it and sends it over the box, England win a throw on the right. Johnson, after some interplay with Young fires the ball across the box, but no one gets on the end of it. Another cross from the left is punched out to Parker, who shoots while Buffon tries to recover, but can’t keep it on target/

12 min.

It looks like Italy fancy the long ball to Balotelli or Cassano against Terry and Lescott. Fair enough, they aren’t the quickest, Terry in particular.

13 min.

Johnson is looking very good on the right wing. He sends in a perfect cross to Rooney, who gets beyond the Italian defense and dives for the header. Good effort, but it sails over the bar.

16 min.

Lescott pulls Balotelli down on the right of the English box. Pirlo sends the free kick over everyone and Balzaretti retrieves it on the left, he crosses horribly, sending the ball out for a goal kick.

17 min.

Cassano and Montolivo play a clever one-two and Cassano almost gets a chance, but Hart runs out to take the ball. Good anticipation from the English keeper.

20 min.

Balzaretti wins a corner. Pirlo sends it across from the left and Welbeck clears, leaping above everyone else in the penalty area.

21 min.

Pirlo sends a lofted ball from one side of the pitch to the other with pinpoint accuracy. Balzaretti receives the pass and sends it to Cassano. Who promptly blasts it over the bar and wide.

Balotelli hasn’t really done a huge amount here, disappointing. Luckily, you can watch him with a mullet in this ad.

24 min.

Balotelli finally gets through on goal, one on one with Hart he pauses, giving Terry enough time to block his shot. Not the first time Balotelli has hesitated in front of goal in this tournament.

27 min.

It looks like both teams have decided to cancel each other out a bit. The ball has been bouncing around midfield for a while. Maybe everyone’s just stunned Balotelli didn’t score.

29 min.

See previous update.

31 min.

Balotelli gets behind the England defense again after a lobbed pass. He goes for a leaping kick, striking the ball on the volley, but the shot is weak and Hart picks it up easily.

England break and Rooney finds Welbeck in front of the Italian box. Welbeck shoots, but sends it high to the right. Not a bad effort, and a great break. England may be able to take advantage of Italy going forward as the game goes on.

32 min.

35 min.

Back to the midfield pinball machine we go. Italy retaining possession well, but struggling to break England down.

36 min.

Rooney breaks toward the Italian goal and Marchisio brings him down. No free kick.

Italy go forward and Cassano finally gets a shot on target, shooting with power from just outside the English box. He goes for the top right corner but Hart makes what is a fairly routine save. Not a bad effort.

38 min.

Penalty shout for Italy. Cassano lobs the ball over Lescott to Balotelli. The Italian goes down in the box, claiming Lescott pulled him down. He was never getting to the ball anyway and the referee waves it off.

40 min.

Another chance for Italy. Great pass in reaches Cassano on the right of the English six-yard box. He heads back across goal and Balotelli looks for the shot but Lescott just beats him to it and puts the ball out over the bar.

42 min.

After a poor free kick from Italy, England break. Rooney, Young and Welbeck rush forward, but Rooney’s final ball is poor and very easily cleared. Italy attack at the other end, but it results in an equally poor shot.

HALF TIME

No time added on. Some great chances, but no goals. Both teams should have scored but the score is a fair reflection of the match. Two evenly matched teams. Italy will likely continue to exploit the lack of pace England have at the back, while England will try to score on the counter attack.

AD WATCH:

The Carlsberg ad isn’t awful. Well done beer that isn’t Heineken.

Hyundai, I DO NOT ASSOCIATE PEOPLE PLAYING FOOTBALL WITH CARS AND NEVER WILL.

Cougar Town, RTE, please, stop paying for this rubbish. People pay a licence fee you know, why insult them? WHY?

I don’t find the Inbetweeners funny, but on the other hand, it’s not Cougar Town, so well done there RTE.

The second ad break has all the same ads as every other match. So I won’t comment beyond GO AWAY HEINEKEN.

SECOND HALF

45 min.

England coming out strong, attacking immediately. It’s lively enough, but they get absolutely nowhere.

47 min.

An Abate cross is cleared as far as Cassano, who wins a corner. Pirlo takes it and Hart punches it away. It’s lobbed back in and lands at the feet of De Rossi who has a great chance to just poke it into the goal, but he manages to scuff it to the right of goal. Considering he hammered the post from 30 yards earlier, that’s not the best effort.

48 min.

Marchisio gives the ball away to Rooney, who runs into the Italian box, dribbles around a defender, but loses the ball, winning a corner for his efforts. The corner is cleared without trouble.

51 min.

Abate with another cross looks for Balotelli in the English box. Terry clears for a corner, which is taken quickly out to De Rossi, who fires in a shot and it rebounds to Balotelli, who fails to finish again. Montolivo tries on another rebound and can’t connect properly, England survive.

53 min.

Italian coach reminiscent of an Italian tenor singing his love song. Classic from RTE.

55 min.

Italian football always make me think of this:

Pirlo sends the ball wide to Abate, who can’t beat Cole to the ball, corner. Not a great one, but Italy retain possession after the clearance, winning a throw in from the left. England are struggling to take the ball from them. They’re lucky that the final ball has been poor from Italy.

57 min.

Young and Abate down after clashing heads.

Looks like Carroll and Walcott will be coming on.

59 min.

England are forced to defend deep now.

A ball drops into the box to Balotelli, who opts to chest it down, flick the ball up and try for an overhead kick, which goes just over the bar. He might have considered passing, but then he is Balotelli.

Welbeck and Milner off for Carroll and Walcott.

61 min.

England looking for Carroll on the long ball already. Could be an effective strategy for them.

62 min.

Pirlo drops a fantastic pass to the foot of De Rossi, who has made a run to the right of goal. He strikes it skyward on the volley, it troubles no one.

64 min.

Walcott crosses from the right to Carroll, who can’t control it, knocking the ball into an Italian player. It bounces back out to Young who has a crack, but sends his low shot wide. Not far off mind.

67 min.

Not a whole lot happening now, similar to halfway through the first half.

70 min.

Gerrard looks to have picked up and injury.

73 min.

He’s back up, looked like a cramp, not a good sign in a game that looks destined for extra time.

74 min.

England quite simply cannot hang on to the ball here. They can make maybe two or three passes before losing it and they only get it back when they block it out for throws or corners. If Italy weren’t toothless in attack they’d have easily scored by now. They’ve had the run of things in this second half.

76 min.

Gerrard fires in a great pass from a free kick about 40 yards out. Rooney jumps but can’t quite reach it. Buffon still has to save, but if Rooney had met that it was a sure goal for England.

77 min.

Cassano coming off now for Diamanti. These are his shoes.

78 min.

Diamanti’s first action is to take over corner duty from Pirlo. His cross is punched away.

79 min.

Nocerino comes on for De Rossi, who had one of Italy’s best chances when he hit the post in the first half.

80 min.

Diamanti takes a decent shot from outside the English box, Hart making a good save to stop in going in the bottom right corner.

81 min.

Young, out of nowhere, starts dribbling past Italian players, then goes down after Barzagli wins the ball, then follows through to bring Young to the ground. A soft yellow card for Barzagli there.

82 min.

Gerrard floats in the free kick but it’s cleared as far as Parker, who shoots but it’s blocked by Balzaretti, who looks to have taken an accidental kick from Parker after falling backward while blocking.

84 min.

Terry goes forward for the first time all game, and taps an easy pass directly to the feet of an Italian player. Typical of the English in the second half.

86 min.

It’s probably more down to Italy than England that Italy haven’t scored yet. Or, more specifically, down to Mario Balotelli.

87 min.

Even Pirlo’s passes aren’t looking great anymore. This is surely going to extra time.

88 min.

Brilliant ball in to Nocerino, who catches the ball perfectly on his boot and shoots. Glen Johnson manages to just barely stop what was destined for the back of the net. Brilliant, brilliant defending from Johnson.

90 min.

3 minutes added on.

Abate coming off, he’s been good for Italy, and he’s replaced by Maggio. Who I believe is the evil twin of Baggio.

92 min.

England have a late chance to win it. Young pauses at the edge of the box, sends it to Cole on the overlap who crosses to Carroll on the far side of the goal. Carroll heads it into the centre of the box and Rooney goes for a spectacular overhead kick but fires it over the bar.

And that’s extra time. Another half hour to decide it, then potentially a penalty shootout.

Italy look the better team, but both teams look tired. At a guess, penalties are the most likely result after half an hour.

We’re back, England kick off to start extra time.

Because it says ET on the screen, I have this stuck in my head.

1 min.

Italy continuing to control possession and move the ball around midfield. England need to do better if they expect to avoid penalties.

2 min.

In saying that, I, unlike the people paid to prattle on about an ultimately pointless game, love penalties and want the match to end with a shootout.

3 min.

Parker off, Jordan Henderson on. Right so. That can’t be good for England.

4 min.

Gerrard sends a free kick into the Italian box and it lands at the feet of Lescott, who boots lamely at the air. He was offside anyway.

5 min.

Walcott sprints forward with the ball on the break, threads a pass to Rooney who makes a mess of his dribble and loses the ball. Italy quickly pass forward, Balotelli again getting behind the English defense, but he can’t get to the ball, it’s just too far ahead. The idea was good though.

7 min.

Italy starting to tire perhaps, England seeing more of the ball and looking dangerous on the break.

9 min.

Balotelli looks tired, taking a shot with little power straight at Hart.

10 min.

After a series of passes between Balotelli and Diamanti, the latter crosses and his cross turns into a shot, dropping past Hart and hitting the left post. Very, very close to the lucky break Italy probably deserve at this stage.

12 min.

When the commentators call Pirlo ‘the Great Pirlo’ I picture him as a magician. He actually looks quite like a magician now I think about it.

14 min.

Maggio with a lovely spinning move there, contender for dive of the tournament.

15 min.

Walcott lofts a cross toward Carroll, one side of the Italian six-yard box to the other, but it’s overhit and goes out of play.

HALF EXTRA TIME.

The players hoping extra oranges have been made available.

Love the short break in extra time, we’re back already. Diamanti has fallen over after Young ran into him.

16  min.

Young kicks a drop ball back to Buffon and it nearly bounces over the Italian goalkeeper, who has to jump to reach it. Good effort.

18 min.

720 passes completed for Italy, 309 for England. And Italy have 63% possession. That Italy haven’t scored is one of life’s great mysteries at this point. Even strikerless Spain managed a goal.

20 min.

I’ll just leave this here.

21 min.

Italy still in control, still going forward, still unable to score. Lescott and Terry have been quite good at blocking shots tonight.

22 min.

Balzaretti crosses well from the left to Diamanti, who has a great chance right in the centre of the English area. He puts it wide to the left under pressure from Gerrard.

24 min.

NOCERINO SCORES!!!!!!!

But it won’t stand, Diamanti plays a lovely ball in from the right of the penalty area and Nocerino puts it in the back of the net. Marginally offside as the ball was played. Italy would have deserved it, but the fans at this point deserve penalties.

26 min.

First corner of extra time for Italy. Diamanti will take it. He plays it above and beyond everyone, and it goes out for a goal kick. England are playing for penalties now and Cubic Zirconia did them a favour with that cross.

28 min.

Whoever wins, Germany are going to absolutely hammer.

Montolivo tries a shot from distance, it goes slowly along the ground and wide to the left, far to the left.

That’s it for extra time. Penalties.

YES!

‘It’s a lottery’ according to the pundits. Except it’s not, because the better penalty takers will win.

Hoping for a penalty like this.

And some of these.

Buffon and Hart look ready, here we go, the best thing in football, ‘penos’!

Italy will take the first penalty.

BALOTELLI Steps up. This should be good. I refer you to the earlier posted video of Hart saving from him.

Brilliant penalty, he stops on the run up, bangs it into the bottom left corner. Hart guessed right but couldn’t reach it.

Gerrard up for England.

Same spot, no stop, bottom left, straight in from Stevie G.

1-1

Montolivo goes the same way as the last two and Diana Rosses it low and wide to the left.

ROON-AYY

ROON AYY

Will take this one. England expects and all that.

Rooney shoots into the automatic power down message on my tv. AKA the top left corner. Good finish.

2-1 England

Pirlo takes the cheekiest of penalties. Hart dives left and Pirlo chips casually down the middle. Beautiful finish. He’s been tremendous tonight.

Young next. He blasts it down the middle and rattles the crossbar.

2-2

Nocerino steps up and coolly slots home into the bottom left.

‘He put the power of his beard behind that.’ says Lorcan from Dublin.

Ashley Cole now to keep things level.

He hits it to the right, not much power, Buffon saves well.

2-3 Italy

AND ITALY ARE THROUGH

4-2 on penalties and they’ll go through to face Germany in the semi-final. Diamanti tucks away the last one.

Italy deserved the win, they outplayed England, but their inability to score will have to worry the Italian manager going into the Germany game. Di Natale must come into the squad now.

You have to feel a little bad for England, they battled hard, but to be fair, they didn’t deserve to go through and were clearly the worse team on the night.

That’s it for tonight, might be back for one of the semi finals, stay tuned.

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