Italy hero Andrea Pirlo missed 'Panenka' penalty against Barcelona in 2010
Masterful was how the watching world described Andrea Pirlo's man of the match display as Italy snuffed out England's hopes of Euro 2012 glory last night.
Fans of the Three Lions could only watch in awe as the peerless midfield maestro passed his way through 120 minutes of an absorbing quarter-final clash in Kiev.
It may have taken penalties for Italy to finally shake off a resolute English side, but by then Pirlo had already reminded the footballing purists of his puppeteering qualities.
His penalty in the shootout - cheekily chipping the ball straight down the middle as Joe Hart diving to his right - summed up his evening. Both imperious and inspired.
The effort - a carbon copy of Antonin Panenka's penalty for Czechoslovakia in the 1976 European Championships final against West Germany - is even more remarkable considering Pirlo had actually failed with an identical effort against Barcelona in a pre-season friendly back in 2010.
On that occasion, Barca keeper Jose Pinto second guessed the 33-year-old's intentions, staying on his feet to comfortably catch the ball.
The morale of the story then? If you fail to succeed first time...