England fans are well used to penalty heartbreak, but that didn’t make the outcome of Sunday night’s Euro 2020 final any easier.
Supporters up and down the country were left distraught when Italy beat England on penalties in the showpiece final at Wembley following the two teams’ 1-1 draw after extra time.
The evening started brightly for England and their fans, when Luke Shaw blasted them in front after just two minutes.
But after the ecstasy came the agony.
England fans across the country embraced and cried following the penalty shoot-out.
In Trafalgar Square in London, some fans began singing the national anthem, cheering the Three Lions’ accomplishments despite the defeat.
Watch: Fans in despair after England lose Euros final to Italy
In Ashton-in-Makerfield, near Wigan, Greater Manchester, Mary Thomas, 64, said: “To lose it at the last kick of the game, last kick of the tournament, is a sickener.
“That was a horrible way to end it.”
Great-great grandmother Mary Hurst, 84, said: “That’s so disappointing. I feel for the players who missed the penalties.
“Football is only a game, but it’s also cruel.”
Distraught fans at the Newcastle PaddyPark fans’ zone clapped the England players as they lost again on penalties.
But some looked bereft and one shouted: “I cannot do this any more.”
When penalties began, members of the crowd at Boxpark Croydon huddled together in a line, with their hands on each other’s shoulders.
Cheers soon became downturned faces as Italy were declared the winners.
In Birmingham, many fans slumped to the floor while others lay on tables in despair at the Luna Springs big-screen venue.
As elation turned to deflation in little more than a minute, many supporters headed straight for the exit to head home.
Teenager Jack Smith said: “I feel sorry for the lads who had to take a penalty after coming on cold.
“I thought some of the bigger names would’ve stepped forward.
“It’s just a heartbreaking way to lose.”
Fans still out in central London on Monday said they did not blame the England squad for the Euro 2020 loss.
Pete, 59, from Southend in Essex, said: “There’s always a winner and always a loser unfortunately.
“I do feel sorry for the young lads… I don’t blame them.
“If you’d have said to anyone when the tournament started that England were going to make the final, they’d snap your hand off.
“It’s an old cliché but it was a game of two halves. We won the first half, Italy won the second half.
“But they did us proud. It’s a sad day and it was a sad night but that’s the way it is in football.”
Watch: England fans 'gutted' but 'proud' after Euro 2020 final loss