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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul 1, 2006

Penalties defeat is sickening - Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand insists 10-man England were the best team and did not deserve to lose to Portugal.

Ferdinand was devastated to lose on penalties to the Portuguese after a goalless 120 minutes in Gelsenkirchen, when Wayne Rooney was sent off in the second-half.

The England centre-half was not part of the team who lost in similar circumstances to Portugal in the Euro 2004 quarter-final.

Ferdinand was banned for missing a drug-test but he tasted defeat in the last eight in Japan, when Sven-Goran Eriksson's team were beaten 2-1 by Brazil.

He compared the game to Manchester United's defeat in the FA Cup final to Arsenal last year when United dominated and lost on penalties.

Ferdinand said: 'We deserved to win today. It wasn't as one-sided but it was almost like the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

'They never looked like scoring a goal although they had a lot of shots from outside the box - but they won the game.'

Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher missed penalties in the shoot-out and Ronaldo scored the winner.

Ferdinand said: 'To lose on penalties again is sickening but the lads put a great effort in. It just wasn't to be.

'We didn't falter with 10 men. Even with 10 men we were the team who created the best chances.

'In the second-half we had about three half-chances and decent chances which we didn't manage to convert.

'That's the only positive I can draw from it. We were still the more dangerous side.'

Rooney was shown a straight red in the 62nd minute of the game.

He tangled with Ricardo Carvalho in midfield and appeared to stamp on the Portugal defender.

Then he pushed Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo as the Portugal winger called on the referee to send off Rooney.

Ferdinand said: 'I've not seen what happened so I was amazed when he was sent off. I was thinking: `What for?' but I'll wait and see the video.'

Gary Neville revealed his heartbreak at England's World Cup exit but insisted it 'was not good enough' to go out at the quarter-final stage for a third successive major tournament.

Neville said: 'It is difficult for me to speak about things tonight because we have suffered. We couldn't have given any more in the match but ultimately we lost and go home on Sunday.

'For England, and the expectations of England and for the people and for ourselves, it is not good enough. I wouldn't want to use anything as an excuse.

'It is difficult what to say tonight. I've been knocked out of tournaments before and you come out of them thinking you didn't have the belief or the confidence, or you maybe didn't play well in a particular match.

'Tonight I think we played well at times, created the better chances, even when down to 10 men but couldn't put one of them away.'

Neville added: 'There are make-or-break moments in tournaments and we haven't done enough again and that is not me being self-critical of myself or the team.

'We haven't got through and if you haven't got through, you haven't done enough. I don't think I have ever felt as bad as that going out of a tournament because I genuinely had belief and I think everyone in England did.

'When it got to penalties, the belief in the squad was even stronger.'

Neville is confident Rooney will put his red card behind him but believes how he is portrayed in the media will determine the reaction of supporters towards the Manchester United player.

He said: 'The reaction to the sending-off will be what it will be. You people (the media) will determine that. But I know Wayne is a strong character and whatever comes his way, he will take.

'Certainly all the people around at our club will support him. We've been all through it before. But tonight is not about Wayne and the sending-off. Tonight is about going out of the World Cup.'

Frank Lampard admitted he broke down in tears after England's exit which came at the end of a disappointing tournament for the Chelsea midfielder.

He said: ``It is the worst feeling I've ever experienced. I don't want to talk too much and I am devastated. I cried a couple of times at the end of the game.

``The World Cup is the ultimate. Deep down I really believed we could go all the way....the tears were there.

'The worst thing about it is we thought this was going to be our time with the players we had and I thought we produced our best performance of the tournament against Portugal.

'We showed a lot of guts and even with 10 men we went at them and went for the win. We didn't sit back and hope for penalties and extra-time.'

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