England out on penalties
Published : 24 Jun 2012 22:48:36
England's penalty shoot-out misery continued in Kiev as they crashed out of Euro 2012.
After Mario Balotelli's talk of Peter Pan, the semi-finals of a major tournament are becoming the equivalent of Never Never Land for the Three Lions.
Six times now they have lost in such fashion, the last four at this stage of the competition.
This time it was the turn of Ashley Young and Ashley Cole to join the unhappy list of those whose nerve failed them when it mattered.
Both men needed consoling as Italy began their celebrations as, outplayed for long periods of an absorbing game, all England's defensive effort proved in vain.
It means Italy march onto Thursday's semi-final with Germany in Warsaw and leaves Roy Hodgson to pick the bones from an otherwise impressive tournament in time for next autumn's World Cup qualifiers.
Before the drama, all those pre-match predictions of a tight, cagey affair had been blown to bits inside the opening five minutes.
Claudio Marchisio picked out Daniele de Rossi with a peach of a cut-back.
From 25 yards, De Rossi let fly with a spectacular first-time volley, which curved away from Joe Hart's despairing dive, only to crash back off the post.
Starved of possession in those early stages, England eventually countered through Glen Johnson.