After a game Italy had dominated, but ended scoreless, they deservedly disposed of England 4-2 on penalties to book a semi-final berth.
Italy have now only lost two of their last nine quarter finals in major competitions, but frankly they should have finished the game during normal time with the possession and amount of chances they created against a disappointing England outfit.
The Three Lions resolve enabled them to cling on for sudden death penalties but bearing in mind their past history it was no surprise that they have now lost six of their last seven penalty shoot-outs.
The pattern of the game was set within the first four minutes as Danielle De Rossi hit the post and whilst England briefly rallied with Glen Johnson bringing a fine save from Gianluigi Buffon, it was Italy who dominated with Pirlo in imperious form in midfield.
If England could argue they at least created as many chances as their opponents in the first 45 minutes, Italy spent the remainder of the game attacking the England rearguard.
Roy Hodgson’s team were guilty of giving the ball away too easily and on those rare occasions they threatened the Italians they lacked the quality in the final third to cause any danger to their opponents.
For Italy, Del Rossi missed a sitter just after the break to add to those of Mario Balotelli and various other players as England rode their luck.
In extra time it was wave after wave of Italian attacking as again the woodwork came to England’s rescue, and when Italy finally did score Antonio Nocerino’s effort was disallowed for offside.
Italy will now face a semi-final showdown with Germany.
Referee: Pedro Proenca (POR)
Venue: Olympic Stadium, Kiev
Yellow cards: Barzagli (ITA), Maggio (ITA)