|Italy Advances to Semifinals with Dominating Performance against England||| Print ||
|Written by Larry Aiello|
|Monday, 25 June 2012 22:42|
Hats off to the Italian team that put in an impressive performance against a heavily favored British soccer team.
Prior to the game, England had more than a 60% chance of advancing according to the experts. But that didn't stop the Italian team from dominating the flow of the game, and controlling the possession of the ball.
Andrea Pirlo proved once again why he is a world class player setting up many scoring chances for the Italian team. They just couldn't capitalize on any chances, and as a result, required an additional 30 minutes of play. And even after all that, they needed to settle the game with penalty kicks.
I think it is a shame when a game has to end this way. Obviously, they can't continue to play. However, I wonder if they ever thought of doing a bunch of corner kicks to settle the game. That way, the whole team is involved instead of relying on the accuracy of your goalie's guess.
During the penalty kick phase, Italy fell quickly behind, but it was 2 misses by 2 UK players that doomed the English squad.
Buffon showed why he is the highest paid goalie in the world by guessing correctly and blocking a shot to his right.
It's amazing such storied soccer programs have only met 3 times before with the most recent game being for 3rd place at the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
It's ironic, both of these teams are known for losing in cruel fashion via the penalty kick. Up until the World Cup victory in 2006, Italy was many times plagued by the penalty kick results not going their way. The most famous result being Roberto Baggio's high kick against Brazil during the 1994 final game.
Looking ahead for the Italian team, they will have to play Germany, a team that has looked good all tournament. Because of the scheduling, Germany will have more rest, and the Italian team will have to recover from playing an additional 30 minutes of ball. Coach Prandelli will have to make the right moves and substitutions in order for the Italian team to advance to the final game against either a rematch versus Spain or a game versus Portugal.