Euro 2012: Pirlo's performance against England praised by coach

Italy boss Cesare Prandelli praised Andrea Pirlo's starring performance after his side beat England in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.

The Azzurri came through a penalty shoot-out after a goalless game - and will play Germany in the final four.

Parker and Gerrard v Pirlo

Pirlo, 33, excelled in possession with his overall showing, including an audacious chipped penalty in the shoot-out.

"He's a star. He knew what he needed to do and he did it," Prandelli said.

Pirlo spent much of his career at AC Milan but joined Juventus at the start of the season,external-link promptly helping secure the Serie A title for his side.

He has carried his good form into Poland and Ukraine and Prandelli highlighted his influence during the penalty shoot-out.

"Penalties are a lottery but I thought we deserved victory in the end," he said.

"When Andrea Pirlo stepped up I was very calm.

"Around 80% of penalty shoot-outs go down to luck. Some players are used to this kind of pressure, some are just calm in these situations."

Pirlo himself said that his penalty struck a psychological blow to England goalkeeper Joe Hart.

"I saw that the goalkeeper was really fired up and I thought about doing that," he admitted.

"It was easier to shoot that way and it put a bit of pressure on the goalkeeper."

Prandelli then turned his attention to Thursday's clash with Germany, who overcame Greece 4-2 on Friday.

"We have to get ready for Germany now," he said.

"They have had two more days' rest, but if we have the same approach and the same desire, I think we can compete.

"Germany and Spain are favourites here. We'll need everyone fit and fresh; we're going to go for it."