Monday, June 25th, 2012
“At the moment I saw the goalkeeper making strange movements, so I waited for him to move and hit it like that. It was easier for me to chip it at that stage. Maybe my effort put some pressure on England and in fact Ashley Young missed the next one after me. I didn’t fear an upset, as England barely created anything, just tried to defend the result and drag us to penalties.” – Andrea Pirlo.
“Then they [England] realised that the gulf in quality between us was too great” – Gazzetta dello Sport on the Andrea Pirlo penalty.
Is there still anyone out there who believes penalties are a “lottery”? Surely, Andrea Pirlo proved this myth to be completely unfounded as he guided Italy past England into the Euro 2012 semi-finals.
After outpassing England, and controlling the game to such a large extent (see this graphic) Pirlo wrestled the initiative in the penalty shoot out from the Three Lions and undoubtedly had a major hand in Italy coming from behind in the shoot-out.
Of course, it is easy to criticise a goalkeeper when they fail to stop penalties but Joe Hart did take instruction after extra-time from both an iPad and a sheet of paper, on the Italian penalty takers.
So, we have to ask, should Joe Hart have known that Andrea Pirlo would dink it in, just like Antonin Panenka in the 1976 European Championship final?
A quick scour of YouTube shows Pirlo has taken four Panenka penalties, three of which were scored. All five of Andrea Pirlo’s Panenka penalties can be seen below.
Andrea Pirlo Panenka v Reggina in Serie A, 2003/2004
Mad! Andrea Pirlo beats Gianluigi Buffon with a Panenka penalty (AC Milan v Juventus, Super Coppa Italia, August 2003)
Another Andrea Pirlo Panenka: Italy v Montenegro (March 28, 2009)
Andrea Pirlo missed Panenka penalty (Barcelona-AC Milan, Aug. 24, 2010)
Andrea Pirlo Panenka v England