Supporters across the country who had cheered and agonised through the 90 minutes and extra time were distraught after Italy claimed victory.
In Trafalgar Square some fans began singing the national anthem, cheering the Three Lions’ accomplishments despite the defeat.
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.”