KIEV, Ukraine — Alessandro Diamanti scored the decisive penalty kick Sunday to send Italy through to the European Championship semifinals with a 4-2 win in the shootout following a 0-0 tie with England.
Italy will play Germany in the semifinals on Thursday in Warsaw, Poland. Defending champion Spain will face Portugal on Wednesday in Donetsk, Ukraine.
The match ended 0-0 after 120 minutes of play. The Italians twice hit the post but also were let down by poor composure in front of goal. Diamanti clipped the post with a curling cross in the 101st minute and swept a clear shot wide in the clearest chance of the second period of extra time.
For England, it was yet another exit from a major tournament in the quarterfinals after a penalty shootout. England lost to Portugal in the same manner at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.
“We have done the country proud but again we go home with heartbreak and it’s difficult to take,” said Gerrard, who played in both those previous shootout losses.
Italy dominated the match, which ended 0-0 after 120 minutes of play. The Italians twice hit the post, but were also let down by poor composure in front of goal. Diamanti clipped the post with a curling cross in the 101st minute, and swept a clear shot wide.
The first scoreless match at Euro 2012 was neither dull nor lacking good soccer.
England had briefly led the shootout after Riccardo Montolivo missed Italy’s second penalty. His shot went wide of Joe Hart’s right post as the England goalkeeper guessed correctly.
The momentum shifted after Pirlo’s bold piece of skill leveled at 2-2.
It had been perhaps the toughest Euro 2012 quarterfinal match to predict, and Italy and England set the tone by both coming close within five minutes.
Balotelli forced Hart, his teammate at Manchester City, to save an acrobatic shot, then surged between England’s central defenders before putting a half-volley over the crossbar. He kicked the goal post in frustration.
Italy continued surging in the second half and De Rossi, taking a ball over his shoulder, scuffed his shot wide. De Rossi sank to his knees in obvious exasperation, and more Italian frustration quickly followed.
England coach Roy Hodgson had to react to Italy’s dominance, and sent on substitutes Andy Carroll and Theo Walcott, who both scored in a 3-2 win over Sweden.
Deep into injury time, Italian defensive jitters created a chance for Rooney but his overhead kick sailed high.