martes, 26 de junio de 2012

England - Italy 2:4

As bookmakers' candidate № 4 (and after Netherlands' kick out № 3!) to win the championship, Italy started the match on strong position. On the 4th minute already, De Rossi could have scored for Italy - after his powerful kick, the ball has almost met upper corner, but hit the post. The Englishmen answered in a minute with a mind-boggling moment at Buffon's goal - Johnson seemed to make a sure kick (just from several meters!), but the keeper didn't let down! On the 14th minute, Johnson assisted Rooney with a wonderful high cross, but Wayne didn't manage to head a goal.
By this time it was already clear, what game each team is going to play. Italians strived to win territorial advantage and they did it by the middle of the first half - the ball remained on the English half of the field, being passed between players in blue. English defenders rarely managed to cut short the so called last passes - the ball reached forwards. However, Englishmen bravely threw themselves under goal attempts, stood by each other in case of breaches, and finally, Hart played reliably on defense's last edge. Thus, on the 25th minute, John Terry covered the goal with torso from Mario Balotelli's kick, and on the 31st minute, Joe Hart made a save against another Balotelli's point-blank hit.
English players, on the other hand, sought their luck in counterattacks, using sparsity of competitor's defense and halfbacks. And here is something to note: Italians looked more confident in their attacks, but moments created by Englishmen were pretty good, too. And you will agree that a goal scored in a 'crazy' counterattack is not worse than the one prepared during halftime.
In the time remaining until half-time, Balotelli managed to 'register' once more - he missed the target after Cassano's cross.
The second half passed on head-on courses, with footballers playing worse and worse - due to growing fatigue - but as vivid as before. In addition, load of responsibility hang over the teams and chased them ahead: "We don't score - we miss - we'll be knocked out." Gerrard and Rooney, along with Carroll and Walcott who came in an hour after the game's start, tried the hardest on English side. Balotelli and De Rossi continued to shine on Italians' side. Nocerino, who replaced De Rossi on the 80th minute, had almost become match's hero - his goal attempt on the last minutes of the regular time would definitely have been scoring, if it wasn't for Johnson who threw himself to his feet.
We put it as 'regular time' for a reason. It was the first play-off match on Euro-2012 that ended with a draw. And for the first time on Euro-2012 the teams had to play extra-time. The third half started, strangely enough, with dangerous attacks by Englishmen. But Italians managed to calm the game by the middle of the short time. Nocerino's scoring shot five minutes before the match end was probably overtime's main event. There was one nuance, though - judge at ringside had already flagged him for offside. Englishmen mopped the cold sweat from their brows in relief. And their playing sufferings were over... Penalty shoot-out was set to begin.
There is no point to describe it for a long time. It was very regular penalty shoot-out. Therefore, here comes a list of shooters one after another: Balotelli (goal), Gerrard (goal), Montolivo (miss)... and here English tribunes roared expecting victory!.. Rooney (goal!)... Pirlo (goal! Italian veteran exquisitely threw the ball over Hart who had fallen), Young (crossbar!)... Nocerino (goal!), Ashley Cole (meets the keeper!). Italy national team's destiny was in Italy national team's hands. And Diamanti (what a last name? Diamond!) scored from the penalty spot and brought his team in semi-final.
Many football experts' prediction came true: only representatives of the strongest Euro-2012 groups - B and C - will play in semi-finals. Well, it was hardly a prediction. Exactly such composition of semi-finalists was the most plausible upon the group tournament's end. The only question was whether you want to believe in football's predictability or not.

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario