It was the same old story for the Three Lions last night as Roy Hodgson’s men continued their country’s tradition of being eliminated on penalties.
1. Player of the day
No contest here to be honest. Andrea Pirlo ran the show for 120 minutes as he set the tempo of the game and made sure the other 21 players on the pitch were marching to the beat of his drum.
England were unable to put any real pressure on the Juventus playmaker as he sat deep and fired the ball around the field at his own will.
The best was yet to come though when he stepped up to take his crucial spot-kick with his team behind after Riccardo Montolivo’s miss. His delicate Panenka penalty will go down as the defining moment of this game as he showed England’s two Ashleys what composure really is. The impudent penalty was reminiscent of Helder Postiga’s equally cheeky penalty against England in Euro 2004; in another shootout defeat for England.
2. The 'when did he get good' moment of the day
Eyebrows were raised when Italy manager Cesare Prandelli left Antonio Di Natale on the bench, instead opting to throw on former West Ham striker Alessandro Diamanti. The 29-year-old seemed a different man to the one who sulked around Upton Park as he carved England’s defence open during Euro 2012 on numerous occasions before completing his transformation with the deciding penalty in the shootout.
3. The 'my granny could've scored that' moment of the day
Italy piled forward in the second hard as England backed off and it looked as though they would finally get their rewards when Danielle De Rossi stood alone five yards out with the goal gaping. However, the Roma man managed to inexplicably scuff the ball wide when it seemed easier to score.
4. Unnecessarily enthusiastic coin flipping technique of the day
No-one would doubt that flamboyant Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca had a near-perfect game in this one but his performance will probably be best remembered for his actions prior to the game. Acting like an excitable kid in the school playground he turned the coin toss into a spectacle as he threw the coin three feet above his head and caught it at head height as if he was a magician showing off a trick. Skippers Buffon and Gerrard both seemed bewildered by this unnecessary start to the game with many observers advising Mr Proenca to focus on his refereeing in the future…