went out of the World Cup 3-1 on penalties after their quarter-final with
Portugal ended 0-0.
England lost skipper David Beckham to injury
just after half-time and Wayne Rooney was sent off after 62 minutes for a
stamp on Ricardo Carvalho. They battled on bravely for the rest of
normal time and extra-time with 10 men to take the game to a shoot-out.
But Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher missed to end their
hopes and Sven-Göran Eriksson's reign.
The Swede leaves his post as England coach after
going out at the quarter-final stage of a major tournament for the third
time in succession and now hands over to Steve McClaren. Eriksson
had promised a big performance from his side but until Rooney's early exit
it was not forthcoming.
The young striker endured a frustrating game and
his patience finally snapped as he got tangled up with Carvalho and
Armando Petit and appeared to aim a stamp at the Chelsea player's groin.
The incident occurred right in front of Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo,
who was urged on by Portugal players - including Rooney's Manchester
United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo - to issue a red card. Elizondo
took a moment before sending Rooney from the field and with him seemingly
went England's World Cup hopes.
But roared on by the England fans that made the
Velkins Arena like a home game, they finally showed the passion and heart
for a battle so often missing in this World Cup campaign. Portugal
were far from their best but they at least caused some worrying moments at
the back for England in a tense first half.
A deep Luis Figo free-kick was not dealt with by
Gary Neville or Lampard and there was huge relief for England to see Tiago
slip with the goal at his mercy. Tiago almost caused further
problems when he was given a free header in the box that Paul Robinson
clambered across to save. Eriksson was forced to change things round
six minutes into the second half with Beckham struggling with an ankle
Beckham almost won a penalty with his last
contribution of the game - and probably his chances of winning a World Cup
- when his cross hit the hand of Nuno Valente but England's appeals came
to nothing. He was replaced by Aaron Lennon and was seen on the
sidelines looking anguished as treatment was performed on his ankle,
although he did later bear the pain long enough to berate the referee
following Rooney's dismissal. Lampard, who endured another miserable
time in front of goal, mistimed a volley after finding himself unmarked
from a Gerrard corner.
Lennon's introduction gave England brief hope as
his pace took him past two players, but when the ball fell for Rooney he
almost completely missed and Joe Cole's effort was just too high.
But then came Rooney's premature exit, with Jole Cole sacrificed for Peter
Crouch. With temperatures again close to 30C it seemed only so long
that England's brave 10-man backs-to-the-wall effort could hold out the
England's best hope of a goal was a set-piece and
Lampard fired in a free-kick that Ricardo did well to keep out, with
Lennon scuffing his attempt to put in the rebound.
A deflected John
Terry shot just looped over the bar after some brilliant work from an
outstanding Owen Hargreaves, but Helder Postiga also blazed over in a
nerve-jangling injury time.
The drama continued through to extra-time with
England showing remarkable energy to match their opponents.
Crouch almost got on the end of a Gerrard
cross but at the other end it needed
some desperate last-ditch
defending and some solid keeping
from Robinson. The game seemed destined to be decided by a penalty shoot-out, just like
when the sides met at the same stage of Euro 2004. And unfortunately
for England it ended in the same result - with Portugal coach Luiz Felipe
Scolari getting the better of Eriksson.
Only Hargreaves - who had easily his best game in
an England shirt - was successful from the spot. Lampard, Gerrard
and Carragher - who scored at the first attempt but had to retake - all
saw their efforts saved by Ricardo, who became the first player in World
Cup shoot-out history to save three penalties. Hugo Viana and
Armando Petit had missed to give Eriksson's side brief hope, but when
Helder Postiga and Ronaldo scored England's dream of being crowned world
champions was over for another four years. - BBC Sport