England have endured more than their fair share of heartache at major international tournaments down the years.
And June 24, 2020, marks the eight-year anniversary of the Three Lions’ Euro 2012 exit at the hands of Italy.
England, managed by Roy Hodgson at the time, took their opponents to penalties at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev following a goalless draw.
This provided Joe Hart with the opportunity to become a national hero.
However, it was Andrea Pirlo and his Italian teammates who prevailed, winning the shoot-out 4-2.
Pirlo produced a Man of the Match performance and capped a wonderful display with one of the most audacious spot-kicks we’ve ever seen.
The midfield maestro, who retired in 2017, mugged off Hart with a glorious Panenka penalty.
Hart had a tendency to get a little over-emotional on the big occasions and the former Manchester City goalkeeper attempted to psyche out Italy’s penalty takers with some antics during the shoot-out.
But it had absolutely no effect on Pirlo who, unlike the rest of us, doesn’t feel pressure.
He admitted this himself a couple of years later: "I don’t feel pressure … I don’t give a toss about it. I spent the afternoon of Sunday, 9 July, 2006 in Berlin sleeping and playing the PlayStation. In the evening, I went out and won the World Cup."
What a legend.
Hart was seen waving at Pirlo and pointing his hand to his left, urging his opponent to shoot that way, but the midfielder took no notice and, instead, embarrassed the goalkeeper.
Watch Pirlo’s beautiful penalty here…
“I saw Hart was practically down on the ground already, so I tried it,” Pirlo said after the match, per Football Italia. “I didn’t think about what would happen if I’d got it wrong, it was just a spontaneous thing.
“Hart looked very confident in himself, so I thought we had to bring him down a peg or two.
“The nicest thing about all this was when my football colleagues complimented me for the penalty. That is always pleasing.”
Some people believe Pirlo effectively ended Hart’s career with his penalty.
But that’s probably a little unfair on the ex-England ‘keeper, who has endured plenty of tough times in recent years.
Hart continued to play regularly for Man City and England up until 2016, when he failed to impress at Euro 2016 and was unceremoniously dumped by Pep Guardiola on the current City boss’s arrival at the Etihad Stadium.
The 33-year-old has since spent time with Torino and West Ham, but is currently on the lookout for a new club after Burnley decided against renewing his contract beyond the end of this month.
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