Sunday June 24 2012
De Rossi: 'Pirlo like Totti!'

Daniele De Rossi likened Andrea Pirlo’s chipped penalty to Francesco Totti’s in the Euro 2000 shoot-out.

“It’s one of those nights that remain with you forever. It reminds me of Francesco Totti against Holland 12 years ago when Pirlo scored that crazy penalty,” he said of the 4-2 shoot-out win over England.

De Rossi had a great opportunity to open the scoring in the first few minutes, but his 30-metre screamer came off the woodwork.

“When I hit the post I thought a few things, so that went badly, but I wouldn’t change anything about this night.

“I still have to discover if I’m right or left-footed. I risked sending that shot into the stands, but it went fairly well – apart from the upright.”

However, the Roma midfielder limped off in the second half.

“I was disappointed at the injury and hope to recover for the semi-final. I had a sciatica problem for the past few days, but ice and painkillers don’t do much. When it’s the sciatic nerve, you can’t run or change pace.

“I certainly don’t have a thigh strain or anything, it’s just that I cannot be optimistic right now because when Diamanti scored I could barely get there to hug him. When you have players like this on the bench, Nocerino and Thiago Motta, it’s a crime to want to play at all costs.

“I really like Diamanti, someone who played in the lower leagues and took a long time to reach the big stage, seeing him score the decisive penalties in the European quarter-finals was impressive.

“We did expect this sort of performance, as England have good players, but they do set out in a very defensive way.

“With the second chance I was sure that I wasn’t offside, but I thought the goalkeeper was closer to me than he actually was, so I rushed the finish and didn’t take time to control the ball first.”

De Rossi was seen celebrating with daughter Gaia after the shoot-out was finished.

“My daughter said until a couple of days ago that she wanted us to lose so I’d come home! I hadn’t seen her for almost a month, but she had fun out here with the shirt, the face paint and the atmosphere.”

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