Outgoing England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has expressed his sorrow following England’s world Cup penalty shootout defeat to Portugal.
Eriksson said: “We practised penalties so much, I really don’t know what more we could do about it.
“I was sure these players could get to the final and we should have done it.
“We gave a good performance but we’re out and that’s very painful. I’m sorry for the fans, who have been fantastic, that we couldn’t give them a final.”
The Swede admitted that the referee had little option but to send off Wayne Rooney after the striker stamped on Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho.
“I don’t think we can complain about the red card from what I saw on the TV,” he said.
“Maybe we should have had a free-kick when there was a tangle but it went on and on and the referee was there.”
He believed England had squandered the chance of reaching their first major final in 40 years.
“I don’t feel relieved, I feel sad and a bit angry because we should be in the tournament,” he added. “But we are not and we can’t blame the referee or somebody else.
“I’m sorry for the team, the squad and the fans who were fantastic. They deserve to have a team in the semi-final or the final.
“The quarter-finals four years and two years ago was OK. This time it is not good enough.
These players should at least have been in the final. It’s more our fault rather than the force of Portugal.”
“Losing again on penalties, it’s not good enough to miss three penalties. We have trained so much – almost every day – but when it comes to the pressure we are not good.
“They showed a lot of character and everything went according to plan. We took over in the second half and started to control the game and make chances.
“We planned to bring Peter Crouch on for the last 25 minutes to try to win the game and that would have gone on with 11. Unfortunately that plan couldn’t work any more.”
Eriksson paid tribute to his players who were forced to play with 10 men after Rooney‘s dismissal.
“I must say they fought enormously when it was 10 against 11,” he added.
“We started the second half very well and controlled the game exactly what we wanted to do.
“Then there was the sending off. We held the game up very well and lost on penalties again and I’m really sorry about that.
“I don’t think we deserved to lose and I think the boys deserved better.
“But we lost the game and went out of the tournament and that hurts incredibly.”