England's Roy Hodgson: Anyone Can Miss Penalty
England manager Roy Hodgson has stood up in defence of Ashley Young and Ashley Cole, who failed to score in the Euro 2012 penalty shoot-out, securing Italy's win.
"Anyone can miss a penalty. They were not nonchalant," Hodgson told BBC Sport.
"Ashley Young's smashed against the bar and Ashley Cole's was well saved by Gianluigi Buffon."
"A player's reputation should not be forged on a penalty shoot-out, their reputation should be forged on the four games and in those four games we have not lost.
"We stuck to our guns right until the end and the players should be very proud of what they did.
"I have learnt a lot about the players and their determination and dedication to the task and the fact they are so keen to play for England.
"There were some heroic performances not only tonight but also in the previous three games."
"When we took it to penalties I was rather hoping it would be our tournament to win on penalties. Certainly the practising didn't help us too much on this occasion," he lamented.
"Maybe it's just fated at the moment that we don't win on penalties but I really can't fault any of the players for their effort.
"At the end we had lots of players out there running on empty, with very tired legs, fighting off cramp, but they kept us in there until the end and when you go to penalties you do have a chance, but unfortunately Italy took the chance and not us.
"Penalties has become an obsession for us in English football and in training the players have done extremely well.
"But you can't reproduce the tired legs. You can't reproduce the pressure. You can't reproduce the nervous tension.
"[The Italians] stood up to it better than we did. Pirlo's [dinked] penalty was the perfect example."
Italy has made it now to the semi-finals of Euro 2012.
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