NEWS
Monday June 25 2012
Italy player ratings v England

It was irony central at Kiev's Olympic Stadium as boring defensive England fought for 120 mins to stave off suave, attacking Italy, only to fall victim to Gigi Buffon's penalty-saving prowess. Queen Elizabeth II, David Cameron, Brian Blessed, James Corden, your boys took one helluva beating...

Italy player ratings v England

Gigi Buffon: 7.5

So Joe Hart's better than Gigi Buffon, is he? Only if is the question is who's better at pulling funny faces. Saved Ashley's Cole penalty to turn the shoot out in Italy's favour and made a vital early block from Glen Johnson. Embodies the spirit of '06. Inspirational.

Ignazio Abate: 7

Anonymous in the first half, the Milan man began blazing up the right flank and delivering dangerous crosses in the second. Ashleys Cole and Young will have been pleased to see him go off injured. Forceful.

Andrea Barzagli: 6.5

Nothing seems to ruffle Andrea Barzagli. Not Wayne Rooney, not Danny Welbeck, not even the human siege tower that is Andrew Carroll. Cool.

Leonardo Bonucci: 8

Having a marvellous tournament. Countless headers, interceptions and clearances. Reared up like a guard dog any time the ball entered Italy's box. Vigilant.

Federico Balzaretti: 7.5

Again showed great willingness to attack and provided an important outlet down the left. His reward for bravely throwing himself in the way of Scott Parker's 83rd minute shot was a blow to the head and some supremely snide commentary from the BBC's Mark Lawrenson. Indefatigable.

Claudio Marchisio: 5.5

If Abate and Balzaretti are the beneficiaries of Prandelli's reversion to 4-3-1-2, Claudio Marchisio is the victim. Such a threat from attacking midfield against Spain and Croatia, but anonymous against Ireland and quiet again tonight. Marginal.

Andrea Pirlo: 9

Stick Umberto Eco, Italo Calvino and all of Italy's greatest writers in a room and they still couldn't come up with the words to describe that performance. Evaded those intent on neutralising him with ease and his passing was divine. Also scored the most nonchalant penalty of all time. Flawless.

Daniele De Rossi: 7.5

Battered a shot off the post three minutes into the first half and missed a sitter three minutes into the second. Fought ceaselessly to win back the ball and used it well. All of that whilst suffering chronic back pain! Indomitable.

Riccardo Montolivo: 7

Missed penalty, missed penalty, missed penalty. We shouldn't remember his performance for that, but we will. The surprise starter looked lively throughout and created openings with clever clipped balls over the top. Sprightly.

Antonio Cassano: 7

A little too eager to shoot from distance, a little careless in possession, but worked tirelessly, never stopped looking for the ball and was a royal pain in the backside for John Terry. Oh and he almost died last year, so let’s cut him some slack... Persistent.

Mario Balotelli: 6

Maintained his flawless record from the penalty spot but wasted A LOT of chances and was frankly fortunate not to be hooked in favour of Antonio Di Natale. Profligate.

Alessandro Diamanti: 8

I'll pass you over to our correspondent in Kiev Daniele De Rossi for this one. “Someone who played in the lower leagues and took a long time to reach the big stage, seeing him score the decisive penalty in the European quarter-finals was impressive.” Nuff said.

Antonio Nocerino: 7

Did what he's been doing for Milan all season and broke into the box to great effect, having a shot deflected over and a header ruled out for offside. Dangerous.

Christian Maggio: 6

Came on for the injured Abate, but failed to make his mark in attack and picked up an unfortunate booking that will see him miss the semi-final. Frustrated.

Ratings by: Scott Fleming

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