Young shot high, his penalty slamming off Buffon’s crossbar. England manager Roy Hodgson chewed his lip.
Next up for England was Cole. The Chelsea player nervously licked his lips on the long walk from the center of the pitch to the penalty spot. He placed the ball on the turf, took seven steps back and stood hands on hips.
Uh-oh, clearly, he was thinking about it too much. Sure enough, his run-up was slow and his shot to Buffon’s left was tame. The Italian guessed correctly, making the block.
Alessandro Diamanti then finished the job, ramming the dagger through English hearts by shooting cleanly past Hart.
Cue Italian delirium.
Buffon puffed out his cheeks in relief.
Neutrals would say that justice was done, Italy were the better team, but that will be of no consolation to the English.
“Penalties has become an obsession for us in English football and in training they have done extremely well, but you can’t reproduce the tired legs. You can’t reproduce the pressure. You can’t reproduce the nervous tension,” Hodgson said.