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

Andrea Pirlo

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, 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."

England 0-0 Italy (2-4 pens)

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."

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