A dejected Wayne Rooney described England's penalty shootout defeat at the hands of Italy as "a horrible way to go out" as the Three Lions bowed out at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2012.
England lost 4-2 on penalties to the Azzurri after the match had finished goalless. Both sides have suffered agonising shootout losses in major tournaments in the past, and when Ashley Young and Ashley Cole failed with successive spot-kicks, Alessandro Diamanti was left to belt home the winner for Italy.
"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.
"We can hold our heads up high. There are a lot of young players in the squad and that will help them in next tournament."
Winger Theo Walcott could only express his sorrow after seeing his team-mates finish the evening in such sad circumstances.
"It's a very cruel way to go out in any competition but someone was going to go out and luck did not go our way," he said. "The two Ashleys are strong enough lads to come back from this and the lads will be with them.
"They are two of the most experienced players in that dressing room and they will bounce back from this even better players. I do not worry about that at all.
"We have got to look forward to the future. It is going to be bright, I am sure of that.
"The World Cup qualifiers are going to be tough. We have to learn some lessons from tonight as that is important for the young players - me being one of them."