Sunday June 24 2012
Hodgson: 'England were heroic'

England manager Roy Hodgson stood by the two players who missed penalties in the “heroic” shoot-out defeat to Italy.

Riccardo Montolivo drilled wide, but Ashley Young hit the bar and Gigi Buffon saved from Ashley Cole in a 4-2 result.

“Anyone can miss a penalty,” said Hodgson. “They were not nonchalant.

“Young's smashed against the bar and Cole's was well saved by Buffon.”

The manager also defended his tactics, which many considered negative, as Italy dominated possession, chances and hit the woodwork twice.

“A player's reputation should not be forged on a penalty shoot-out, their reputation should be forged on the four games and in those four games we have not lost.

“We stuck to our guns right until the end and the players should be very proud of what they did.

“I have learnt a lot about the players and their determination and dedication to the task and the fact they are so keen to play for England.

“There were some heroic performances not only tonight but also in the previous three games.”

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