Italy playmaker Andrea Pirlo believes that his audacious ‘Panenka’ penalty “put more pressure” on England’s players in Sunday’s Euro 2012 quarter-final clash. The Azzurri were losing 2-1 in the penalty shoot-out after Riccardo Montolivo had missed his attempt when Pirlo chipped the ball straight into the middle of the net as England goalkeeper Joe Hart dived to his right.
Ashley Young and Ashley Cole then missed from the spot, allowing Italy to win 4-2 in the shoot-out, and Pirlo hinted that his penalty made the difference.
“Joe Hart was doing some strange movements, so when he dived I decided to take it like that and it went well,” the Juventus midfielder told Rai Sport.
“It put a bit of pressure on their takers and in fact Ashley Young missed his penalty after that.
“England did not create any chances during the match. They played for the penalty shoot-out, while we wanted to win.
Pirlo’s Juventus teammate Gianluigi Buffon also commented on the nerve-wracking quarterfinal: “It is clear that I feared an upset, in the penalty shoot-out you can be lucky and win or unlucky and lose. With regards to the 120 minutes of action, we deserved the victory, we created more chances than them,” the goalkeeper pointed out.
“After Montolivo missed his penalty, I only thought that I should save as many as possible, because my teammates deserved to win the match, and so did I.”
Azzurri controlled most of the game and had superior possession (64-34 per cent) and more chances on goal (8-1) than their opponents.