25th June, 2012
The English team, led by captain, Steven Gerrard, admitted it was tough to take after a “heartbreaking” exit from Euro 2012, following a penalty shoot-out defeat against Italy on Sunday.
England were beaten 4-2 via spot-kicks after their quarter-final clash in Kiev ended goalless after extra-time. This was the latest in a long line of penalty shoot-out exits from major tournaments, following on from 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2006, and while Gerrard praised his teammates for their showing in Poland and Ukraine, he conceded it was a painful way to go out.
“Everyone’s been great in training, every time we’ve come out I think we’ve done the country proud, but again we’re going home with heartbreak, which is difficult to take,” he told BBC1.
The Liverpool midfielder added: “I just feel for the players who from day one have given everything and today we did the same.
“This time in the penalty shoot-out we thought we might have the bit of luck we needed but it wasn’t to be.
“Credit to Italy they are a fantastic team and they got the luck in the shoot-out.”
Wayne Rooney also admitted that it was a horrible way to go out. “It was a horrible way to go out,” said Rooney. “We are all gutted. It was a tough game and we all worked hard, so to lose on penalties is a horrible feeling for everyone.”
But he added: “We can hold our heads up high. There are a lot of young players in the squad and that will help them in the next tournament.”
Manager, Roy Hodgson, said: “It is always difficult after a defeat, but the support we received today was incredible, from the first minute to the 120th.
“The mood back at home and the feeling we have being supported back here has made the defeat even harder. We so much wanted to stay on and give the fans a reward for the support they’ve given us. I couldn’t ask any more than the players gave tonight. They gave their all.
“We have to accept we weren’t quite good enough to win it over the 120 minutes and, in the shoot-out, we went down the same road we’ve been so many times before.”
Meanwhile, happy and relieved Italian football fans emerge from the stadium in Kiev after beating England on penalties.
With England known for being serial shoot-out losers it was little surprise that Italy triumphed when it came to the dreaded test of nerve.
Now the semi finalists are sorted, several Italian and Spanish supporters appeared not to be worried about taking on Germany and Portugal, if fact a couple of them predicted an Italy – Spain final.
But for England fans it was a bitter defeat:
“England had a better defence. Italy were better going forward. They cancelled each other out. It went to penalties. It’s fifty-fifty then,” said one supporter before he set off on his long trip home.
Reporting for euronews, Sergio Cantone said:
“The Italians are totally convinced that they will win this Euro and that they’ll beat Germany who they meet next…We’ll have to wait and see!”