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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 July 2006, 21:03 GMT 22:03 UK
Do not blame Rooney, says Gerrard
Wayne Rooney is sent off against Portugal
Lone striker Wayne Rooney is sent off against Portugal
England midfielder Steven Gerrard pleaded with critics not to blame Wayne Rooney for their exit.

The striker was sent off on 62 minutes as England went out on penalties.

Gerrard said: "We gave everything we could and I hope people don't blame Wayne or the penalty takers, but if they do we will deal with it.

"I think they were finding it really difficult to break us down and I thought we were heroic out there, we threw bodies in the way of shots."

The Liverpool skipper added: "We gave everything we had and I've got absolutely zero energy and neither have the boys so I don't think we can be faulted in that way.

"But at the end of the day we've lost a penalty shoot-out and our penalties weren't good enough."

Portugal midfielder Cristiano Ronaldo insists he did not try to get Manchester United team-mate Rooney sent off following the England striker's foul on Ricardo Carvalho.

Ronaldo said: "I know that people will say that the referee sent off Rooney because I spoke to him.

"I only said to the referee that it was a foul, only that. I never asked for the red card.

"But I know the English press will say that it was my fault that he was sent off.

"He is my team-mate and a player of international level, that is why I hope that his gesture wasn't so bad as it looked."

England defender Gary Neville said the team never lost belief that they would go through until the deciding spot-kick from his Old Trafford team-mate Ronaldo.

He said: "Until Ronaldo put that penalty in I never had a negative thought.

"I don't think any other player did about the outcome of the match.

"We're devastated tonight because we genuinely believed we had a good chance, everybody had the belief.

Gary Neville
Neville captained England after David Beckham was substituted

"We'd grown into the tournament, we felt we had a quiet start which was what we would have liked, we got through quite comfortably. And today we felt we had a chance to go on and beat Portugal and we still had chances.

"I think we had the best three or four chances in the match and we had to take one of them and we didn't and then it goes to penalties and even then I thought we were going to win."

Rio Ferdinand believed England were unlucky to be on their way back home after keeping Portugal at bay with 10 men.

He said: "We deserved to win today. They never looked like scoring a goal although they had a lot of shots from outside the box - but they won the game.

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

SEE ALSO
England beaten on penalties again
01 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
Rooney's dismissal stuns England
01 Jul 06 |  England
Experts slam Sven
01 Jul 06 |  England
Eriksson's England time in photos
24 Jan 06 |  Photo Galleries
Final whistle sounds for Eriksson
01 Jul 06 |  Internationals


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