Andrea Pirlo shone for Italy last night, dictating the rhythm of the game, spreading out passes at will and helping Gli Azzurri dominate possession. He even scored the most audacious penalty you are ever likely to see at this stage of a competition – with the pressure on after Riccardo Montolivo’s spotkick miss, he teasingly dinked the ball into the air with his right boot. Joe Hart was on the floor before the ball dropped into the net.
Former England, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United striker Michael Owen thinks we had a player of equal quality – but he was left at home.
After coming out of retirement in January this year, and in spite of an injury pileup that ruled out the likes of Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard, Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes still did not receive a call from Roy Hodgson.
Writing on Twitter, Owen remarked:
Pirlo was awesome but we have a player of a similar age and equally as good. Unfortunately he wasn’t there. #Scholes.
We will never know what sort of an impact Paul Scholes could have had over proceedings. What we do know however is that for 70 minutes of normal time and 30 minutes of extra time, England couldn’t get a foot on the ball. Possession was given away at every instance as Italy poured forward. Perhaps the pass maestro that is Paul Scholes could have made that bit of difference.
In the end, when Scott Parker ran himself into the ground, Jordan Henderson replaced him.