Prandelli hails star turn Pirlo

Andrea Pirlo (right) was labelled 'a star' by Cesare Prandelli after his spot-kick heroics

Andrea Pirlo (right) was labelled 'a star' by Cesare Prandelli after his spot-kick heroics

First published in National Sport © by

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli labelled Andrea Pirlo "a star" after the Juventus midfielder helped end England's dreams of European Championship glory.

Pirlo, 33, was named as UEFA's official man of the match after controlling the tempo of the game during a goalless 120 minutes and then scoring an audacious chipped spot-kick as Italy won 4-2 on penalties. It was no less than Italy deserved though they had to come from behind in the shoot-out after Riccardo Montolivo missed their second penalty.

Prandelli said: "When Montolivo missed his penalty I was sad as he was one of the best players. When Andrea Pirlo stepped up I was very calm - he's a star and knew what he needed to do; and he did it."

He added: "Penalties are a lottery but I thought we deserved victory in the end. I was watching with my arm around my son and I told him he was lucky he didn't have to buy a ticket.

"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."

On the game as a whole, he added: "I wasn't surprised. 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."

Montolivo, who will depart Fiorentina for AC Milan when his contract expires this summer, was grateful to keeper Gianluigi Buffon, who saved Ashley Cole's penalty after Ashley Young had hit the crossbar.

The 27-year-old said: "It was a great relief, especially for me. I felt terrible after missing my penalty, it was really a tough moment but fortunately it ended well - we are lucky to have a goalkeeper like Buffon."


Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree