• Euro 2012

Pirlo: My penalty broke England

ESPN staff
June 26, 2012
Andrea Pirlo had the belief to dink his penalty down the middle © PA Photos

Andrea Pirlo has suggested he broke England's spirit with his audacious penalty in Italy's Euro 2012 shootout win.

Italy progressed to the last four with a deserved win, but their passage was not smooth as they trailed in the shootout at one stage.

Pirlo stepped forward and clipped a ball over the despairing dive of England keeper Joe Hart. It took great nerve to execute, as he missed a similar effort during his time with AC Milan.

But Pirlo feels the gamble paid off as it heaped pressure on Ashley Young who smashed the following kick against the bar - which was followed by Gianluigi Buffon's save from Ashley Cole.

"Scoring the way I did put pressure on to Young, and that is what made him miss his kick," Pirlo said.

"I did not fear being ridiculed by the English. They just wanted to play for penalties and we deserved to beat them, even though it had to go to a shootout."

Hart attempted to psyche out the Italian penalty takers with exaggerated movements and strange facial expressions, but Pirlo felt he only succeeded in beating himself.

He said: "I saw England's keeper Joe Hart making strange movements and decided to take my kick that way. Hart was fired up and he had been diving around, so it was easier to take it like that."

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