Euro 2012 Quarterfinal: England vs. Italy (Match Day Commentary)

 ItalyLogo  EnglandLogo

The must highly-anticipated match of the Euro 2012 quarterfinals is here, as England and Italy square off in a match that should be the most exciting of the round (2:45pm, ESPN).

England comes in having finished in first place in Group D, rattling off a 2-0-1 record in the group. They take on an Italy side that also managed a similar 2-0-1 unbeaten record in its group. One one side you have Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Joe Hart. On the other side you have the volatile Mario Balotelli, the legendary Gianluigi Buffon and the incomparable Andrea Pirlo.

The star-studded affair could come down to how England deals with Pirlo, and how England deal with Balotelli. The match-up features the strongest set of goalkeepers to face off in this tournament, and a potential penalty shootout would be hard to handicap.

SBI will be providing live commentary of today's match so please feel free to follow along here. As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today's commentary is after the jump):

 

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43 Responses to Euro 2012 Quarterfinal: England vs. Italy (Match Day Commentary)

  1. Timbers Fan says:

    What is the blue tape up the sides of Buffon’s neck?

  2. tom says:

    Physical therapy tape. This is going to be the closest quarter yet.

  3. ManicMessiah says:

    I think a 3 man backline would’ve worked better for Italy against England. De Rossi would’ve helped distribute from the back so Rooney couldn’t crowd Pirlo as much, and it would take away the diagonals Welbeck or Rooney are looking for.

  4. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    Am I the only one around here who likes Darke and Macca?

  5. ManicMessiah says:

    Not the only one. Was a fan of Ian Darke, and I think he and McManaman have a good rapport together. I think he, like most color analysts, could do a lot more about giving insight on the game, but I think that about most soccer analysts on games.

  6. ManicMessiah says:

    Pirlo just flicks the ball in the air, and you’d think it was done casually except the ball lands right on a player’s head of their feet.

  7. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    My feelings exactly. I’m a big fan of Darke, and while Macca can be a bit annoying at times, I think they make a great pair. But I only ever hear people knocking them around here.

  8. jones says:

    So far this game is much more exciting than Spain/France.

  9. KC says:

    Rooney with 3 dives so far. None called. This guy makes Cristiano look tough.

  10. Citronomics says:

    Just been watching for 10 minutes or do and it appears England is dropping off when Italy builds up through midfield. Would think you would not want to give Italy’s attacking mids space to spray passes around.

    How have the 2 sides looked?

  11. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    England started very well, had the run of play for the first fifteen or so minutes. Italy got back in the game and were the better side for the rest of the half. Both sides have had their chances, and it’s been a surprisingly absorbing game. Certainly the best quarterfinal, I’d say.

  12. ManicMessiah says:

    De Rossi grabbing Terry’s shirt and pulling, foul called on Terry. Could’ve probably called seven different players for fouls on that one.

  13. Citronomics says:

    I enjoyed that DeRossi jersey tug because it was on Terry but definitely no attempt to be sly about it.

  14. beachbum says:

    DeRossi pretended like he was the one who got fouled which is being sly about to me…and he got away with it

  15. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    I really have to disagree with Darke’s assessment of the game. Italy have generally been the better team, but he’s really blowing it out of proportion. This is miles away from the Spain-France game. Italy are dominating possession, but not creating very many good chances. Maybe it’s his inherent English cynicism kicking in.

  16. ManicMessiah says:

    I have to admit, when I saw Rooney flip for that bicycle kick, I thought that was going in.

  17. ManicMessiah says:

    I agree with you. A lot of Italy’s chances have been lobbed balls over the top, where the Striker needs to take it down well, the defense has a chance to close in, the goalkeeper has a chance to take a better angle to block the goal, and the striker needs to take a very good shot to score.

  18. Mike says:

    England plays the ugliest football.

  19. Mike says:

    Someone tell Ashley Young that England’s diving squad is back in London.

  20. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    Exactly. At one point he said that Italy’s passing had been “on another level” or some such and I about plotzed. The Italian strikers have had good first touches all game, being able to bring down some rather hopeful balls over the top. But that doesn’t make the passes good. If the Italians had been passing well they would have been able to take advantage of their domination of possession. The fact that they haven’t created many clear chances despite all of their possession shows that their passing has been off.

  21. Mike says:

    Seriously, get a non-English group of commentators for the England game. They think England walks on water and every foul shouldn’t be a foul.

  22. ManicMessiah says:

    Carroll would do well to learn that some times he just needs to try and chest these long balls down to himself instead of trying to flick head them somewhere.

  23. Mike says:

    Let me sum up English football as evidenced by this team.

    1. Hack the hell out of everyone.
    2. Hit the ball long whenever you can.
    3. Dive at every chance to earn set pieces.
    4. Put 10 men behind the ball.

  24. ManicMessiah says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if John Terry takes a penalty.

  25. YO says:

    Is the US Team all over again with better defenders,

  26. Mike says:

    Cool as you like from Balotelli.

  27. Mike says:

    Wow, just a horrible penalty. That probably just cost Italy the game.

  28. Mike says:

    LOL

    That’s why you have to love Pirlo. Dude’s a G.

  29. ManicMessiah says:

    I was honestly just thinking ‘Pirlo’s just going to float this ball into the corner’. I was half right. What guts to chip a penalty like that!

  30. Mike says:

    Awful penalty from Ashley Young. Momentum swinging back to italy!

  31. Mike says:

    GIGI BUFFON!!!!!

  32. Mike says:

    Well deserved Italian win.

    England did not deserve to sniff the next round after that embarrassment of a performance.

  33. KC says:

    The English are beyond stupid. Don’t they know how badly they suck at penalty kicks? For a country that talks so highly about their history they seem to have a short memory.

  34. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    You’re absolutely right. Why did they let the game go to penalties? What a bunch of morons.

  35. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    I would say the same about Italy, though. They were only marginally better all night (save the first fifteen minutes, where England looked dangerous), and had to go to penalties to get past a truly mediocre England side. Italy deserved to win, but neither belong in the semis.

  36. Judging Amy says:

    Italy deserved the win. You could hear Darke and Macca mustering up a little hope when it was getting late into the game and Italy couldn’t convert their many full and half-chances. Seemed as if they were praying for pks.

  37. Judging Amy says:

    I think most would disagree with the marginally better bit. And if Italy doesn’t belong who does? (I don’t even like Italy)

  38. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    These are my two least-favorite sides (well, along with Mexico), so trust me, I’m not an England fanboy. Italy dominated possession, but most of it was their defense kicking it around in the middle third. They created very few good chances, only a handful more than England did. Neither side were very impressive, especially after halftime, and neither belong with Germany, Spain, or Portugal in the semis, IMO.

  39. 2tone says:

    Man that England team is awful. Glad Italy won the PK’s.

  40. Eurosnob says:

    Italy actually showed some quality at the group stage, while the quality of England’s play was abysmal throughout the whole tournament. They parked the bus in every single game, and got results at the group stage, but technically, they were probably the second weakest team in the tournament (just slightly better than Ireland). They were hanging by the thinnest of the threads in every game they played (being outshot and outpossessed by all four of their opponents), and eventually, their luck ran out.

  41. Michael Stypulkoski says:

    Come on. Second weakest team in the tournament? Then it was quite a feat for them to win their group and only be eliminated in the quarterfinals on penalties.

    Look, I’m not defending England – they aren’t very good. My only point is that Italy aren’t much better. And to say that England was the second weakest team in the tournament is frankly laughable.

  42. Eurosnob says:

    I spoke in terms of technical skill, not the scoreboard. A team can overcome the lack of technical skill (and get results). England and France split the points, but one had to be delusional not to see technical superiority of the French. Having less than 40 percent of possession against the likes of Sweden and Ukraine, struggling to put together more than 3 passes and being outshot by a wide margin, says it all about the technical skill of this team. England huffed and puffed, played hopeful long-balls, tried to grind out results, but there was very little technical skill they showed.

  43. When the game extended till the penalty shootouts, it was obvious that it was no more their game. Because Italy are the best when it comes to PK. They even won the match through the shoot outs.