10 things we learnt from England vs. Italy

1. There are two things that are certain in life. One is that you will die. The other is that England will lose on penalties.

2. Let’s face it, England deserved to go home. The Italians completely outclassed them and had three times as many chances. How they didn’t seal it before the final whistle is beyond belief.

3. England’s defenders can be proud of themselves. Terry and Lescott stood firm and blocked anything that came towards them. And Glen Johnson has dispelled all myths that he is allergic to defending.

4. Closing down. Two words I’m fairly sure weren’t mentioned in the England team talk before or during the game. If they were, the players failed to understand them. Letting Andrea Pirlo play in his smoking jacket was possibly the worst tactical move ever.

5. Speaking of Pirlo, it’s interesting to note that England have exactly the same sort of player sat at home who dominates games and sprays passes across the pitch left, right and centre. He may be a couple of years older than Pirlo but who’s to say he couldn’t have produced the same effect. Yep, I’m sure Paul Scholes would have suited England’s plans perfectly this tournament.

6. Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young were both woefully off colour. Never seen the pair of them give the ball away so much in my life. When two thirds of your attacking thrust performs like that, what chance do you have?

7. Andy Carroll gets an admiring nod in his direction. Won his headers and looked a genuine threat when he came on. Hopefully for him, this will kick start his Liverpool career as well.

8. Credit must go to Steven Gerrard. He may have spent most of the game chasing Italian shadows in midfield, but he’s answered those critics that say he doesn’t perform at major tournaments.

9. England are genuinely a quarter final team. They are not in the same calibre internationally as the likes of the Italians, the Germans or the Spanish. It’s sad to admit, but obvious to see.

10. All in all, the tournament can be regarded as a success. England were given little hope coming into Euro 2012 and Hodgson has fostered a good team spirit that can only improve. The likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere will soon be established in England’s midfield so the future is also bright. It’s hard to feel disheartened unlike previous years. Bring on Brazil.

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