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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 July 2006, 06:21 GMT 07:21 UK
Squad is heartbroken - Carragher
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer in Gelsenkirchen

Jamie Carragher
Carragher missed his twice-taken penalty kick against Portugal
Jamie Carragher admits England's latest World Cup exit on penalties has left the squad "devastated".

And the defender revealed his own misery at missing in the crucial shoot-out in Gelsenkirchen.

Carragher missed a twice-taken spot-kick as England lost 3-1 on penalties to Portugal in the quarter-final after a goalless draw.

The 28-year-old told BBC Sport: "We are just totally devastated and are incredibly disappointed."

He added: "We have missed a chance that only comes around once every four years, and to lose like that is heartbreaking."

Carragher was sent on as a substitute to replace Aaron Lennon with only seconds to go in extra-time to take his place as one of England's penalty takers.

He scored with his first attempt, but it was ordered to be re-taken by referee Horacio Elizondo, and Portugal keeper Ricardo deflected his second effort on to the woodwork.

Liverpool defender Carragher said: "The referee said he never blew his whistle so I had to wait until after he blew it.

"I didn't realise. I obviously don't take that many.

"I've taken two in my career and scored two before this one, one in the Worthington Cup final shoot-out against Birmingham and another in penalties in the same competition."

Carragher insisted he was happy to step forward, despite his lack of experience from the spot.

He added: "You have to give credit to their keeper.

"He touched it on to the bar. It's one of those things. It happens."

And he admitted there was a sense within the dressing room that England had let a real chance of World Cup glory slip through their fingers.

We are better than a last eight team, but until we do something you can't say you are

Jamie Carragher

He said: "It's not like at Liverpool if you go out of the FA Cup and the Champions League and there is always next year.

"This only comes around every four years and this makes it even tougher to take."

Carragher still believes England's status is better than that of World Cup quarter-finalists, despite falling at the hurdle again.

He said: "We believe we are better than a last eight team, but until we do something you can't say you are.

"We can't keep talking about it. You have actually got to do it.

"At the moment we are a top-eight team because that's where we always seem to get.

"I think realistically we are better than that, but until we actually prove it on the pitch we can't say that.

"Every time you don't come close it's an opportunity missed because they don't come around very often in players' careers. If you get two or three you have done well."

Owen Hargreaves
Carragher praised the performance of Owen Hargreaves

But Carragher still sees hope for the future, and lavished praise on Owen Hargreaves' brilliant individual performance.

"I think we have the nucleus of a top team, and you look in two years' time at the Euros and to the World Cup and see hope," he said.

"We have got Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon coming through. You look at the impact Lennon has made when he has come on in the games and realise he has got great potential.

"We will always produce top players, so we need that little bit of luck in these competitions and we are not getting it."

And he admitted he was delighted for Hargreaves to show his true worth on the World Cup stage.

Carragher said: "Owen Hargreaves was outstanding. I thought his energy levels were unbelievable.

"He was the best player on the pitch. He's had a lot of criticism and I was pleased for him.

"He's had criticism and that is probably due to the fact he doesn't play in the Premiership and people don't know too much about him."

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