Italian press sneer at defensive England and delight in Pirlo masterclass
ENGLAND’S defensive approach to the Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy was criticised by Italian sports newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport this morning.
Italy will now face Germany in the semi-finals on Thursday.
Roy Hodgson's men did not receive especially favourable coverage, and Gazzetta likened their tactics to those employed to great effect by Chelsea during their Champions League campaign.
"England started well, then, even though they remained organised, they gradually faded away on the pitch," a Gazzetta editorial read.
"They held on for penalties but it didn't go well for them.
"The laws of football could not allow for a triumph of another English 'catenaccio' (defensive approach) after that of Chelsea that won the Champions League."
Gazzetta felt Italy were worthy winners.
Their main headline screamed: "An Italy that wins and we continue!"
That is followed by a sub-headline which says "Italy dominated. We hit the post twice and in penalties the victory arrives. On Thursday we take on the Germans in the semi-finals."
Rome-based Corriere dello Sport saluted the Azzurri and carried a front-page photograph of the Italian players celebrating after substitute Alessandro Diamanti scored the final, victory-clinching penalty with the headline: "Enormous".
Corriere's editorial said Prandelli's Italy was the better side.
"A great Italy dominates England and beats them on penalties," it read.
Corriere also hailed the performance of experienced Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo, whose classy chipped penalty kick beat England goalkeeper Joe Hart to keep Italy on course.
"A memorable penalty kick from Pirlo gives the Azzurri confidence," Corriere said.
Turin-based sports newspaper Tuttosport carried a photograph of several Italian players celebrating on their front page and, taking a jab at the nickname of England's squad, ran a headline which read: "We are the lions."
Tuttosport notes that despite Italy's superiority, with Daniele de Rossi and Diamanti denied by the woodwork, they were made to sweat before overcoming England.
"Italy dominate, two great shots denied by the post but they are only able to overcome England in the penalties," the sports paper says.
Tuttosport's editorial is "Italian job, a delight" and the article hailed the performance of the Azzurri, who "never stopped believing" even after they missed one of their penalties - Riccardo Montolivo missed his spot-kick but it went unpunished.
National newspaper Il Messaggero saluted the Azzurri's fighting spirit and said it was "an example of strength".