KIEV, Ukraine -- After two hours of clever, often dominating but in the end fruitless play, Italy found the answer against England.
Alessandro Diamanti scored the decisive kick Sunday to send Italy through to the European Championship semifinals with a 4-2 win in the shootout following a 0-0 tie with England.
Italy will next play Germany in the semifinals on Thursday in Warsaw, Poland. Defending champion Spain plays Portugal on Wednesday in Donetsk, Ukraine.
"We deserved this victory," Diamanti said. "The penalties rewarded our dominance during the match. It's only fair, we played a great match and battled from the first to the last minute."
But not until penalties by Mario Balotelli, Andrea Pirlo - with an audacious slow chip-shot down the middle of the goal - and Antonio Nocerino did the Azzurri find the net. Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney scored England's penalties.
The difference: Ashley Young hit the crossbar with England's third, and Ashley Cole's attempt was saved by Gianluigi Buffon.