Andrea Barzagli admits he was nervous during the shoot-out, but credited total concentration for Italy keeping England ineffective.
“I was nervous during the penalties, as I thought it wouldn’t be right to go out, so I was very tense. In the end, we definitely deserved to go through.
“It’s only normal to get worried, but the others did brilliantly and it is never easy to take a penalty,” he said of the shoot-out victory.
Wayne Rooney was the big danger man, but did precious little to trouble the Azzurri back line.
“We didn’t suffer much at the back, that is true, but we kept concentrated for 120 minutes, as you can never make a mistake against a player like him.”
Italy now go through to face tournament favourites Germany in Thursday’s semi-final.
“It’s not a problem if Germany are the favourites. We realised today precisely what our potential is. We won’t start as favourites, but we’re not beaten yet either.
“There is fatigue and you feel it, but after this victory we feel it less, as a win fires us up. We don’t have long to recover, but we will give it our best.”