England vs. Italy Video: Watch Italy Advance to Euro 2012 Semifinals on PKs
Italy defeated England in a penalty shootout on Sunday to earn a match against Germany in the semifinals of Euro 2012.
The Italians deserved the victory since they were the better side after a scoreless 90 minutes and extra time. It was another heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat for the Three Lions in a major international competition (4-2 on penalty kicks).
The goalkeeper matchup between Italy's Gianluigi Buffon and England's Joe Hart was the story going into the shootout, and the Italian proved why he's the best goalkeeper in the world.
Three Lions captain Steven Gerrard, arguably England's most reliable penalty taker, started the shootout well with an accurate strike to the bottom left that barely found room inside the post and past Buffon.
After Mario Balotelli scored on Italy's first attempt, Riccardo Montolivo then missed as he shot wide left past Hart, giving England an early advantage. A few attempts later, Ashley Young gave the England advantage away after he hit the crossbar.
When Buffon saved Ashley Cole's shot on England's next attempt, Italy were poised for the victory and sealed their place in the semifinal with a successful strike from Alessandro Diamanti.
Whether you like penalties deciding matches of this importance or not, it's encouraging that the best team in Sunday's game came out victorious.
Italy have certainly put their poor performance at the 2010 World Cup behind them, and they are in fine form right now thanks to a great combination of veteran players and young stars.
Germany will be favored in their showdown with Italy, but they will need a spectacular performance to keep the Italians from making the final.
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