England players walk off the field after they lost to Italy in the quarterfinals of the 2012 European Championship.
England players walk off the field after they lost to Italy in the quarterfinals of the 2012 European Championship. Getty Images

England pay the penalty - again!

ALESSANDRO Diamanti scored the decisive penalty kick on Monday to give Italy a 4-2 shootout win over England and a spot in the European Championship semifinals.

Ashley Young hit the crossbar with England's third, and Ashley Cole's attempt was then saved by Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon diving to his left.

Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo - with an audacious slow chip-shot down the middle of the goal -and Antonio Nocerino also scored for Italy. Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney scored England's penalties.

Italy will next play Germany in the semifinals on Thursday in Warsaw, Poland.

For England, it was yet another exit from a major tournament in the quarterfinals after a penalty shootout. England lost to Portugal in the same manner at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.

Italy dominated the match, which ended 0-0 after 120 minutes of play. The Italians twice hit the post, but were also let down by poor composure in front of goal. Diamanti clipped the post with a curling cross in the 101st minute, and swept a clear shot wide in the clearest chance of the second period of extra time.

Nocerino thought he had scored from Diamanti's cross in the 115th but was offside.

Earlier in Kiev's Olympic Stadium, Daniele De Rossi hit the post in the third minute, and Buffon saved a shot from Glen Johnson in the fifth. It wasEngland's first scoring chance and proved to be its best.

The first scoreless match at Euro 2012 was neither dull nor lacking good football.

Italy's attacking desire and creativity under coach Cesare Prandelli had playmaker Andrea Pirlo at its heart. Italy had 35 attempts on goal, compared to only nine for England.

England had briefly led the shootout after Riccardo Montolivo missed Italy's second penalty. His shot went wide of Joe Hart's right post as the Englandgoalkeeper guessed correctly.

Rooney then sent Buffon the wrong way, firing in his spot kick to the keeper's right to give England a 2-1 lead.

The momentum shifted after Pirlo's bold piece of skill leveled at 2-2.

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