Sunday, 24 June, 2012
Manager pays tribute to his men following Euro 2012 exit.
England Manager Roy Hodgson was full of praise for his players after they lost on penalties to Italy after a goalless draw following extra-time in Sunday night’s European Championship quarter final, in Kiev.
Hodgson said: “When we took it to a shoot-out, I thought this might be our time on penalties. Certainly the practising didn’t help us too much on this occasion - maybe it’s fated at the moment that we don’t win on penalties.
“I really can’t fault the players – we had a lot of men out there running on empty with very tired legs, fighting off cramp as they gave absolutely everything.
“When you go to penalties you do have a chance, but unfortunately Italy took their chance and not us.
“The five penalty takers we had had taken a fair amount in training and the ones we had out there are very good. I have been watching Ashley Cole and Ashley Young smashing them in on a regular basis in training.
“But we have an obsession with penalties in this country and it will be even bigger now – but you can’t reproduce the tired legs, the pressure and the nervous tension in training. They stood up to it better than we did and Pirlo’s penalty being the prime example.
“I thought we created some very good chances but Italy came at us time and time again. In some ways, you might almost prefer a goal from them in that time when they were playing well, because it’s not as cruel as penalties
“We’ve gone out without actually losing a game, with our heads high and I think the guys have done a fantastic job for the country.
“I am sure it is only a matter of time [before we beat a top team in a major tournament] if these players keep working well together. We are close but not quite there yet and we will keep working on the aspects of our play that can be better.
“The most positive aspect we will take away is from the fans that got behind us and if we can get a good England team with the fans behind us we have a chance.”