Reaction from the fans at Euro 2012
Mon, 25 Jun 2012 12:52p.m.
Heartbroken English fans left Kiev's Olympic Stadium following England's loss to Italy during a dramatic penalty shootout that went into the early hours today.
Italy won the shootout 4-2 following a 0-0 draw after extra time, setting up a clash with Germany in the semi-final in Warsaw.
"Well I think Roy Hodgson has done a good job with the team, we've come a long way," said Steve from Bristol. "We didn't expect to do this well and we've got this far, we were going to get to the semi-final, the final, but that's not gonna happen so we go back and we start on the World Cup campaign.
"So we go for that but it's sad that we go out this way because all the way through the evening, I though it was gonna go our way, it didn't. But there we are."
"Overall it was better than expected," said Allan from Burnley in Lancashire. "We expected to not even qualify for the group stage."
For England and Italy, a shootout was a nightmare scenario they wished to avoid as both nations have dreadful records overall with the Azzurri's 2006 World Cup final triumph against France a rare bright spot.
"When it goes to penalties, we're terrible. We don't do penalties," said John, also from Burnley.
Italy, chasing a first European title since their only triumph in 1968, had a tired England on the ropes for long periods.
Orchestrated by the intelligent and tireless work of midfield artist Andrea Pirlo, fresh until the end as younger team mates and opponents wilted, the Azzurri mustered 35 efforts at goal with 20 on target. England, by contrast, had just nine shots in total, but neither side could land a decisive blow.
The teams were meeting for the first time in more than 10 years in a competitive match and it was the Italians who came closest to scoring as they struck the woodwork twice and had a goal disallowed in extra time.
By contrast, England failed to trouble Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon after an early chance for Glen Johnson.
The handful of Italian fans who travelled to Kiev quietly celebrated their victory.
"It was a very tense match," said Italian fan Giussepe. "Unfortunately ended at the "lottery" of the penalty shootout which is never a good thing either for Italy or England."
"Great, great big emotion," said Eduardo, a Brazilian who supports Italy. "We knew it was going to the penalty kicks, the game was a little so-so, but big emotion yeah. Buffon, yeah once again, reaching for that last shot so great."
For England, standing only above the Italians as the penalty shootout failures of world football after a long line of spot-kick heartbreak in major tournaments, it was a familiar sorry tale.
Italian fans, however, were delirious.
Celebrating the victory in Rome's historic Piazza Venezia thousands of excited Italians cheered and waved flags.
"Everyone was fantastic," said a beaming Giusi. While Marco Cerro, another Italy fan added, "I wasn't expecting it. I thought we'd win much more easily because we were a stronger team, we demonstrated that on the pitch for 120 minutes. We're the best, we'll win the European Championship. Go Italy."
Other fans agreed that Italy was much the stronger team and should have won without the penalty shoot out.
"For the whole match, we thought we were going to win before the end of the match - all those chances that Balotelli missed", ranted Marco Poletti, before adding happily, "We won, we won."
England's Ashley Young and Ashley Cole missed their penalties, leaving Diamanti to coolly slot home and earn the Italians a semi-final clash with Germany.
The celebrating crowds were confident that their team will do well in the semi-final.
"Statistically, we're the winners," shouted Giorgio Bamfini above the celebrations. "We always win against Germany. I hope also this year it will go well."
"We'll win, it's certain," Stefania Citaro said. "Because we won the World Cup match against Germany in the semi-final, so we'll also win this semi-final."
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