The Euro 2012 quarterfinals came to a close yesterday with another penalty shoot out defeat for England. This time it was Italy who possessed the better nerves and scored 4 out of 5 shots, while England started brightly but the two Ashleys, Cole and Young delivered 2 weak penalties, one hitting the cross-bar the other being saved easily by Gigi Buffon, the Italian goal keeper.
Following the Script
Throughout the match England played decent football to the ability they were capable of and even had scoring chances to upset the Italians. The statistics however, provide a different picture. Italy enjoyed 62 per cent possession, England only 38. Yet, had England had kept their heads calm, this match would have been an upset of major proportions. That this did not happen was due to England following the script of their major tournament history: Miraculously getting out of the group but succumb to the first decent team. Normally this would have been within 90 minutes like at the World 201o where they lost to Germany 4-1 or going out on penalties like in 2006 against Portugal or more regularly, against Germany like at Italia ’90 and Euro ’96. In both occasions it was a good omen to beat England on penalties for Germany as they went on to win both tournaments.
Inside the regular 90 minutes it appeared as though England have misread the script and were on course for an upset. They would have stretched their luck beyond reason and would have had no mental and physical energy left to put up a fight against Germany. Even during the penalties it looked as though England were still on course for a meeting with their ‘best enemy’: they were 2-1 up because Ricardo Montolivo missed his spot kick. England were soon on track again.
Despite the defeat, England can return home with their heads held high. Roy Hodgson has the core of a team that could surprise some at the comong World Cup in Brazil in 2014. He has instilled belief within the players and reminded them of their capabilities and possibilities. Some of which were visible throughout England’s 4 matches at Euro 2012. For a change, after the Hubris of the 2006 World Cup campaign and the subsequent failure to get to the Euros in 2008, England’s future looks bright.
- Italy beats England on penalties at Euro 2012 (thehindu.com)
- Italy tops England on penalties (lfpress.com)
- Don’t bash the Ashes: Cole and Young backed by Theo (mirror.co.uk)
- England bombs out of Euro 2012 on penalties (itv.com)