Gutted England fans suffered yet another World Cup exit with a missed penalty as the Prince of Wales spoke of his pride for Gareth Southgate’s team following their 2-1 loss to France.
Supporters spoke of a “massive opportunity missed” on Saturday, with many believing the winners of the quarter-final tie would go on to win the tournament in Qatar.
Despite a short period of jubilation when Harry Kane converted his first penalty, his second was blazed over the bar – prompting many to put their head in their hands and watch on in silence.
Fans had bemoaned a number of refereeing decisions during the game, but the Brazilian official awarded two penalty kicks to the Three Lions in the second half.
As Kane’s first spot-kick beat his Tottenham teammate Hugo Lloris, beers and Santa hats were thrown in the air at fan parks around the nation.
A VAR intervention saw a foul given on Mason Mount and a second penalty opportunity for Kane, but supporters were left thinking about what could have been as Olivier Giroud’s header sent the Three Lions home.
William sent a personal message to the England team, saying he was “gutted” for Southgate and the players, adding: “We are all so proud of you.”
After the game, William tweeted: “Gareth, Harry and the whole England squad and staff, gutted for all of you.
“You put so much into this tournament and we are all so proud of you. Heads held high and on to the next one!”
Rishi Sunak kept his promise to wish France well in the semi-finals after making a deal with French president Emmanuel Macron before the game.
The Prime Minister tweeted: “Harry and the team gave it everything but it wasn’t to be.
“They can hold their heads high tonight. Best of luck to France in the next round.”
England players met with their friends and family in the stadium after the game, with many pictured looking devastated following the loss.
Charity Women’s Aid said being disappointed about the match was “no excuse for abuse”, adding: “The impact this can have on survivors can be much more severe.”
Three Lions fans in Qatar were left rueing the missed opportunity for the Three Lions to progress to the semi-finals.
Teacher Greg Webster, 37, who lives in Qatar and is originally from Leicester, told the PA news agency: “I’m pretty gutted. We were the better team, it was just a few key moments.
“In general I think (Gareth) Southgate has done all right but I don’t see why he bought Mason Mount on.”
He said the two teams were worthy of the final, adding: “France have lost a few players coming into it so it’s definitely a missed opportunity, and other big teams going out.”
Mr Webster went on: “You don’t expect Kane to absolutely sky the penalty.
“I think the fact he’s already had one and he’s taking it against Lloris doesn’t help, I think he’s got inside his own head and tried to do something he doesn’t normally do.”
But Southgate refused to condemn Kane for his penalty miss.
The England manager said: “For me, we win and lose as a team. We have let a couple of goals in and missed a few chances.
“He has been incredible for us and is so reliable for us in those situations. We wouldn’t be here but for the number of goals he has scored for us.”
Reflecting on the game outside the Al-Bayt stadium, Paul Wilson, 59, from North Shields, said: “We didn’t take our chances, defensively one mistake, nobody picked Giroud up, great header to be fair, but we were the much better side and, if I’m being honest, this is a massive opportunity missed.
“There’s not a side, I don’t believe, left in the tournament that England couldn’t have gone on and beat, but it’s all about putting the ball in the back of the net.
“I know Kane blazed it over the bar but you can’t say it’s all his fault because it’s not, however, that is a massive opportunity missed.”
He added: “What makes it worse is every single one of those players sitting in the dressing room now will regret the biggest opportunity they’ve ever had to win the World Cup.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said England deserved to win the game and the result was “absolutely gutting”.
The referee, Wilton Sampaio, was subjected to a barrage of negative comments from English supporters, following two contentious decisions in the first half.
The official also received criticism from Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker, who took to Twitter to say: “One of these days, just once, we might get a decision in our favour.”
Mr Sampaio’s Wikipedia page was also edited, with the referee listed as having “lost his guide dog” and a “Brazilian cheat”.