England captain Steven Gerrard 'heartbroken' by Euro 2012 exit
England captain Steven Gerrard says he and his team-mates are "heartbroken" by their exit from Euro 2012 following a penalty shoot-out loss to Italy.
England were beaten on spot-kicks for the sixth time in a major tournament after battling to a goalless draw in the quarter-final in Kiev.
"I feel for the players who from day one have given everything, and today we did the same," Gerrard told BBC Sport.
"But again we're going home with heartbreak, which is hard to take."
The 32-year-old Liverpool midfielder added: "Everyone's been great in training, every time we've come out I think we've done the country proud.
"This time I thought we might have the bit of luck we needed but it wasn't to be.
"Credit to Italy, they are fantastic team and they got the luck in the shoot-out."
Alessandro Diamanti scored the decisive penalty, after Ashley Young and Ashley Cole had missed from the spot for England, to seal a 4-2 shoot-out victory for the Azzurri.
It meant another penalty defeat for England, who also crashed out of World Cups in 1990, 1998 and 2006 and saw their European Championship challenge ended in 1996 and 2004 courtesy of a shoot-out.
Their record now stands at six defeats in seven shoot-outs, with their only success coming over Spain at Euro 1996.
Prior to the denouement in Kiev, Italy had dominated over 120 minutes but spurned a succession of good chances.
Daniele De Rossi and Diamanti both hit the post with shots and Antonio Nocerino had an effort ruled out for offside late in normal time.
England created chances to score in the first half, with Glen Johnson seeing the best of them saved by goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, but from 45 minutes onwards their focus was entirely on containing the superior Italians.
Italy advance to the semi-finals where they face Germany in Warsaw on Thursday while England are left to reflect on another failed campaign.