England coach Roy Hodgson praised
his team's courage following their Euro 2012 quarter-final
shootout defeat by Italy on Sunday.
The Italians won 4-2 on penalties aftr the match, dominated
by Italy, finished goalless at the end of extra time.
"I don't think I could ask any more than the players gave
tonight," Hodgson told a news conference.
"They really gave their all. We weren't quite good enough
to win it over the 90 minutes and when it came to penalties we
went down the same road we've gone down so many times before,"
England went into penalties hoping to improve on a record
that has seen them only win one shootout in a major tournament,
against Spain at Euro 96.
But eight years to the day after Portugal knocked them out
of Euro 2004 in the same manner, Ashley Young and Ashley Cole
missed from the spot and England exited another tournament.
"Once again we go home because we can't win a penalty
shootout, which quite frankly isn't the same as a game of
football," Hodgson said. "It's an entirely different
The England coach sympathised with Cole and Young, but
praised the nerve of Italy's Andrea Pirlo, whose chipped effort
fooled England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
"The cool, calculated way that Pirlo had to chip the
goalkeeper, that is either something you have or you don't as a
player," he said. "You can't coach that."
With Pirlo majestic in the centre for Italy, Hodgson told
reporters that his central midfielders, Scott Parker and Steven
Gerrard, were suffering from injuries.
"Scott was feeling his Achilles [tendon] and Steven was
struggling with cramp," the manager said.
Hodgson said both sides had had chances to win the game.
"I think there was chances missed at both ends. Both teams
created chances, but I think Italy played well. I wouldn't
begrudge them their victory," Hodgson said, adding that it was
an "interesting tactical battle" between him and Italy coach
"Talking for my own team, I though we put up a very, very
good effort and had we won it we wouldn't have been apologising
for the victory," he said.
"I've been very happy with the way they've responded to the
demands of an England shirt. They've shown they're well capable
of stepping up to the plate."
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