Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Noble Rues Devastating Defeat as England's Kids Suffer Humiliation

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Noble Rues Devastating Defeat as England's Kids Suffer Humiliation

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Johnson

GERMANY U21 4

ENGLAND U21 0

MARK NOBLE today admitted England's defeat in the European Under-21 Championships Final was the most devastating of his career.

Stuart Pearce's side kicked off in Malmo with hopes of becoming the first England team to win the competition for 25 years but capitulated after falling behind in the first half.

The West Ham midfielder said: "Seeing them collect the trophy was one of the worst things I've had to do. I didn't really watch most of it, I couldn't. It was too much. I wanted it to be us up there and not them."

Noble was in the team that lost to Holland in the semi-finals on a penalty shoot-out two years ago.

He said: "This is harder to take than 2007. As much as we lost that match, it was on a high because we were unlucky and lost on penalties.

"We're gutted, terribly gutted. We thought we could go out and win and obviously that didn't happen. I don't know what went wrong. We started well, we started sharply. Obviously, it was a setback with their goal and that was terrible for us.

"I'm just gutted for ourselves and for England. I thought we'd be bringing home the trophy."

Without their suspended trio of goalkeeper Joe Hart plus forwards Gabriel Agbonlahor and Fraizer Campbell there were fears that England could struggle. That proved to be the case as Watford keeper Scott Loach crumbled under the pressure, while Arsenal striker Theo Walcott was left isolated up front.

Pearce refused to criticise Loach but the 21-year-old will know he could have done better with Germany's first three goals.

He was too slow off his line when Mesut Ozil played a through ball for Gonzalo Castro to chip in the opener after 23 minutes.

Even worse was to follow at the start of the second half when Loach misread the swerve on Ozil's 35-yard free-kick and tamely palmed the ball into his own net. …

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