New Delhi, July 5 (IANS) Italian football great Gianluca Zambrotta on Tuesday said it was a pity that his national team bowed out of the European Championship in the quarter-finals via penalty shoot-out in France.
Antonio Conte-coached Italy, termed as the least talented group to have represented Italy at a major championship, exceeded expectations by beating world’s second-ranked Belgium and Sweden in the group stage before dishing out a classical performance to oust two-time defending champions Spain 2-0.
The Gianluigi Buffon-led side also gave a tough fight to reigning world champions Germany but they lost 5-6 in a penalty shoot-out in the last eight stage after the 120 minutes of play ended 1-1.
Reacting to Italy’s defeat, Zambrotta, a 2006 World Cup winner said through a translator: “They played well and had beautiful possibilities (of going all the way).
It is a pity that they lost in the shoot-out to a tough Germany side. Shoot-out is like a lottery and it was really unfortunate (the way they lost),” added the 39-year-old, after he was unveiled as the chief coach of Indian Super League (ISL) side Delhi Dynamos for two years.
Zambrotta, who was a member of the Italian team that lost to France in the Euro 2000 final, hoped for a fairytale finish at the ongoing tournament which has reached the semi-final stage.
Portugal face debutants Wales in the first one on Wednesday, while home favourites France will be up against the Germans on Thursday for a place in the final on Sunday.
“Anything can happen. Let’s hope for a fairytale end to the championship,” Zambrotta, who played 98 times for Italy, said, declining to name a favourite.