England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd rued the nation’s latest bout of spot-kick woe as his side were dumped out of the European Championship after losing to Germany on penalties.
Southampton winger Nathan Redmond missed the decisive penalty, while Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham also saw his 12-yard effort saved by Germany goalkeeper Julian Pollersbeck.
Abraham had earlier given England the lead after Demarai Gray had levelled the scores following Davie Selke’s headed opener, only for Felix Platte to send the clash into extra-time.
In shades of 1990 and 1996 when the senior England side lost on penalties to Germany, the Young Lions were left to reflect on a last-four demise at the hands of the same opposition, who will play Spain in Friday’s final.
“We gave our all, we did whatever we could,” said Boothroyd. “We had our backs against the wall at times but we showed real character and determination.
“Perhaps looking back, we are all deeply disappointed to take it as far as we did, we can be proud and disappointed. I want us to take that next step and we were so close, so close. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
England recovered from the concession of another set-piece goal as Leicester winger Gray calmly swept home shortly before half-time.
Five minutes after the re-start, new Watford signing Will Hughes showed composure in the penalty area to pick out Abraham, a player set to spend next season on loan at Swansea, who tapped home. But it was not to be for England’s youngsters as Platte headed home to ensure extra-time.