Harry Kane had to fight back the tears after England crashed out of the World Cup against France on Sunday morning.
There was “utter devastation” for the England team as the final whistle was blown — and the heartbreak was all summed up in one photo.
England keeper Jordan Pickford and substitute Kieran Trippier were seen racing over to support Kane and shield him from TV cameras as he collapsed to the turf.
Gareth Southgate’s side were defeated 2-1 as the reigning world champions clinched their place in the semi-finals — where they will face Morocco after the African country knocked out Portugal.
Captain Kane blew a late opportunity to draw England level and send the game to extra-time when he blazed a spot-kick over the bar, The Sun reports.
That was after he had scored an earlier penalty to equal Wayne Rooney’s record as the country’s all-time top scorer.
And after the whistle he slumped to the turf in a crouched position and brought a hand over his face as he struggled to get to grips with England’s exit.
A number of his heartbroken colleagues raced over to him while manager Southgate, who famously missed a penalty at the Euros in 1996, also gave him a hug and offered some words to his talisman.
France goalie Hugo Lloris, a teammate of Kane’s at Tottenham, also went to console the striker before the Three Lions skipper trudged off towards the dressing-room.
England keeper Jordan Pickford was also spotted ushering a cameraman away as they tried to get close and film Kane in his moment of despair.
BBC correspondent Juliette Ferrington saw the scene unfold.
“Harry Kane’s teammates politely asked for the camera operators to move away from him because he was inconsolable,” she said.
“Jude Bellingham had his shirt over his face and was lying on his back before he got to his feet. When Rashford’s free-kick went over Harry Kane looked to the sky.”
Elsewhere, teenage midfield sensation Jude Bellingham was in tears and his new pal Jordan Henderson was forced to put an arm around his shoulder to comfort him. The Borussia Dortmund man was then spotted still crying as he too headed down the tunnel.
Henderson was the first star to brave the cameras, telling ITV: “It is hard now to sum it up, it is hard to find the right words.
“I thought we gave everything in the game, we were disappointed to go 1-0 down but we showed the character and mentality to keep going and find the equaliser.
“We gave it everything and unfortunately it wasn’t our night.”
And on Kane’s penalty miss, he added: “We know how many penalties Harry has scored for us, how many goals he has contributed to even get us here.
“He will be stronger for this in the future. He is a world-class striker and our captain, he will bounce back.”
Southgate about Kane: “He’s been incredible for us and so reliable in these situations. And we wouldn’t be here without him.
“In the end goals are decisive but I’ve said to the players that I don’t think they could have given anymore.
Congratulations to France, they know that they’ve been in a hell of a game.”
England’s highest-profile pundits and commentators were surprisingly gentle in their assessment of the result and were mostly full of praise for the team.
They also shared Kane’s heartbreak.
Legendary football commentator Martin Tyler said on SBS: “Kane looks to the ground in total dismay. He can’t believe what he’s done”.
Sky Sports’ Peter Smith said: “Kane looks absolutely devastated. There are tears in his eyes. It’s hard to believe he blazed that penalty over. He’s usually so good from 12 yards”.
— This story originally appeared on thesun.co.uk and has been republished with permission
Story Credit: news.com.au