Prandelli joy after Italy put England to bed
Sunday, 24 June 2012
After 120 minutes of nervous action, the lottery of penalties and a call from the president, Cesare Prandelli admitted he just wanted to sleep – but not before a few thoughts on Germany.
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Italy coach Cesare Prandelli was delighted after his side won the "lottery" of penalties against England, though he admitted he was never unduly concerned during the 4-2 shoot-out victory. He congratulated his son on getting a free ticket for the game, then the Azzurri camp took a call from President Giorgio Napolitano, but by the early hours he just wanted to get to bed. England counterpart Roy Hodgson was understandably less eager to leave.
Roy Hodgson, England manager
We tried our best. We worked as hard as we could. We survived physical problems – Scott Parker with his Achilles and Steven Gerrard with cramp – but whether we did enough to go through is a matter of opinion. There was never a question of playing for penalties.
Our defending was resolute and we did very well, particularly in the second half of extra time to hold out but we couldn't capitalise in the shoot-out. Penalty taking has become something of an obsession for English football but while you can practise you can't reproduce the atmosphere and tension. The cool, collected way Andrea Pirlo took his penalty – you can't coach that.
Both teams created chances. I thought Italy played well but for long periods I thought it was an interesting tactical battle and for all their possession they didn't often get behind us. Had we won it we wouldn't have been apologising.
Press conferences are never easy but they're especially difficult after defeat. Tonight's defeat after a penalty shoot-out is all the harder as we wanted to stay on and reward our fans. We gave our all but weren't quite good enough in the 120 minutes and when it went to penalties it went as it so often does for England. We go away unbeaten in normal time but we go home because we can't win on penalties.
Cesare Prandelli, Italy coach
I wasn't surprised by tonight. I knew we could control the game. My worry was that we were allowing England too much space on the break – we could have been a bit cleverer in our build-up play. We tried to play football. We tried to draw England out; we tried to hit them quickly. I think if we'd scored in the 90 minutes it would have been an even better game.
Penalties are a lottery but I thought we deserved victory in the end. When [Riccardo] Montolivo missed his penalty I was sad as he was one of the best players tonight. I was watching with my arm around my son and I told him he was lucky he didn't have to buy a ticket. When Andrea Pirlo stepped up I was very calm – he's a star and knew what he needed to do and he did it.
Around 80% of penalty shoot-outs go down to luck. Some players are used to this kind of pressure, some are just calm in these situations – but mainly it's down to good fortune.
President Napolitano called us to congratulate us and that was special. We are delighted but we have to get ready for Germany now. They have had two more days' rest. If we have the same approach, the same desire, I think we can compete.
Germany and Spain are favourites here. We'll need everyone fit and fresh; we're going to go for it. They're always attacking games against Germany. Germany are a great side – they made changes against Greece and it made no difference. The game here hasn't long ended and we want to get our players fit – we just want to go home and get to bed to be honest.