…I though England would nick it.
I never thought they would outplay Italy, I never thought they’d pass it about like they knew what they were doing, I never thought they’d look like a proper football team but I thought with the luck they had previously and if Shearer can actually figure out that it’s “what he did” and not “what he done” then miracles can happen.
When De Rossi’s curler hit the post I definitely thought the luck was staying on England’s side. When Glen Johnson actually did something, getting into the box with some nice interplay, instaed of dithering, and scooped a shot for Buffon to save, I figured they’d nick it. When Pirlo picked the ball six yards inside his area, slowly ambled closer to the centre circle and launched a perfect ball into Balotelli, ineptly being played onside by Terry and Lescott ran up the pitch with his hand up, the Citeh striker dithering until Terry could get back and block his attempt, it’s got England win written all over it.
Even after a decent spell in the Italian half by England when they all of a sudden thought they were one up and reverted to the standard England type and dropped back, gave Italy all the space and possession required. Gonna fluke it.
As Pirlo started to completely control the game, unhindered by any English presence – in fact it wasn’t until extra-time that an England player got within 5 yards of the play maker and that was when Pirlo jumped to take a ball in front of Carroll – and the chances kept coming for the Azzurri there was only going to be one outcome.
As Balzaretti had the freedom of England’s right, expertly found time and time again by Pirlo, all through the second half and then Abate, Maggio and Diamanti took over on England’s left in extra-time, again from Pirlo. It was only a matter of time before England would get the winner. Set piece, own goal, hit of someone’s backside. It was gonna come.
Then when the ref blew for the end of extra-time they were going to double their penalty shoot-out wins.
I figured Balotelli would miss, what with his perfect record from the spot – he didn’t – Montolivo looked nervous, he did miss, England now 2-1 ahead after Gerrard and Rooney had scored. Up stepped Pirlo, best player by a mile on the night, bound to miss, always the case, but no he didn’t did he, He Panenka’d it. It was fitting and as soon as he did it, it was all over.
Up stepped Ashley Young and pretty much put the seal on his atrocious tournament smacking the bar. But at least he put some effort into the penalty unlike Ashley Cole whose attempt was so pathetically dribbled for Buffon to barely have to make an effort of his own to save it for Diamanti to finally put us out of our misery.
And let the rewriting of history happen and it happened quickly when I was flicking through the channels on SkyNews some berk was interviewing a couple of stunned mullets – fish not Chrissy Waddle hairstyles, why did you chop the mullet before the 90 semi? – and stated that
Italy, perhaps shaded it…. Err, perhaps, yes let’s see, they had most of the first half, all of the second half and all of extra-time. Yes that’s just shading it.
Forget Soviet Russia and Stalin’s removal of those out of favour from the archives or Ceausescu in Romania being made taller than visiting dignitaries in photos, or Korean tales of Dear Leader. History can’t be rewritten like that of England’s glorious exits from Euros or World Cups.
I know I bang on about stats being useless if you don’t do anything with them – doing something with possession and attempts rather than doing something with the actual stats numbers – but they don’t exactly tell a tale of England being slightly behind Italy…
Yes I know the most telling stat is the 0-0 scoreline but just it shows England’s failings that have been there throughout the four games they’ve been pretty damn woeful in during this tournament.
This game was just like the rest. Having none of the ball because of an inability to pass to your own team mate without making it a struggle for them to control the ball. Kicking ball into space, instead of to a player’s feet. Prime example when England actually played a ball into the channels, unfortunately it was Parker playing the ball – is there anyone more limited? – two balls he played were exactly the same, both went of of play with the intended recipient having absolutely no hope of getting on the end. One was to Walcott the other to Milner. Now if Walcott can’t run onto a pass what chance has Milner?
Ten next to Parker you’ve got captain Marvel. Or so his media chums would have you believe. Gerrard, well he did reign in a number of those glory balls and replaced them with bugger all. Some slight running about and tackles. Well from the talk you’d think he tackled anything and everything. Well if that’s the case, Italy joined, France, Sweden and Ukraine in easily bypassing our midfield?
The pair sat there and were useless, as Shearer is calling for the striker’s to stifle Pirlo, how about our midfielders do it? It’s not like you’d miss ’em.
Funny how they were all clutching at the straw of Pirlo tiring. Yet how many times have they themselves banged on about a team without the ball tires more than the team with it? Pirlo hardly had to do anything to exert any energy to get tired throughout the 120 minutes while still running the game. Gerrard and Parker were knackered.
Defended manfully. Oh Johnson’s getting high marks today. Ball to the Italian left was an easy out all night, Johnson was playing the Cole game. It was all last ditch stuff a lot of it very lucky last ditch stuff. Lescott was deer in the headlights again. Terry got lucky a number of times but he did put his body in front of the ball on a number of occasions. He didn’t Ferdinand – or should that be Gerrard? – out of blocking any shots.
Joe Hart. He’s the only world class player in an England shirt – Rooney’s failings yet again at a major championship prevent him from being included. In a way he was the difference between this and the last World Cup. He didn’t have much chance with the goals conceded, flapped a couple of times but made good saves and never once looked like throwing the ball into the back of his own net. Just he never really looked like saving a penalty either.
It’ll be rewritten as some sort of glorious failure a brave defeat in the face of the lottery of penalties.
It wasn’t it was a piss poor performance by a piss poor team who got lucky with the group – no coincidence that of the four semi-finalists none came from group A or D – and when the luck runs out you are what you are…
England 0 – 0 Italy
…only ones less happy about it all would be the Germans. That semi could have been a right massacre.