With a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday, England’s 55-year drought for a major tournament victory continues.
But they have inspired the nation both on and off the field, coming closer to lifting the World Cup than any other Three Lions team since Sir Alf Ramsay’s heroes did so in 1966.
The PA news agency looks at five of Gareth Southgate’s players who have improved their reputation as a result of the tournament.
Raheem Sterling has effectively silenced his detractors.
He carried England through a difficult start in the group stages with victories against Croatia and the Czech Republic, and he scored the game’s first goal in the round of 16 against Germany.
Sterling also produced a great assist for Harry Kane’s opener against Ukraine, as well as winning the game-winning penalty against Denmark in the semi-final.
In every match, he was a constant threat with the ball at his feet, and he was a strong contender for player of the tournament.
Harry Maguire celebrates heading England’s second goal in their 2-0 win against Ukraine in Rome (PA Wire) Maguire started the tournament with an ankle injury and ended it as one of the top central defenders in the world.
England’s five clean sheets were largely down to the Manchester United captain’s rock-solid partnership with the excellent John Stones.
Maguire developed in stature as a ball handler and distributer, and was a huge aerial danger at set pieces, yet being faultless in his defensive duties.
All the way to his final kick – a nerveless rocket of a penalty in the heart-breaking shootout against Italy – he led by example.
Bukayo Saka (PA Wire) was one of the tournament’s surprise packages, starting in three games for England at Euro 2020.
All of his peers were supposed to be ahead of him, including Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, and Jadon Sancho, but the Arsenal youth showed to be a dynamic talent after a man-of-the-match performance against the Czech Republic.
The 19-year-old forward was unrestricted in his attacks on opposing defenders.
After missing the penalty shoot-out in the final, his magnificent delivery in the semi-final against Denmark was bundled home for the equaliser.
Luke Shaw’s goal against Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley was the fastest ever in a European Championship final (PA Wire) Shaw started every game except the opener against Croatia and more than deserved his spot in Southgate’s team.
The 26-year-old was near-perfect in one-on-one defense, but his marauding exploits down the left side set him apart.
His three assists and his superbly-taken opening goal against Italy – the fastest-ever goal in a European Championship final – demonstrated that he continually offered England’s approach a different dimension.
Jose Mourinho’s fiercest critic, the Manchester United defense, had the last laugh.
In front of England’s back line, Kalvin Phillips’ combination with Declan Rice was a key aspect in their run to the final.
The 25-year-old midfielder started all seven games and might be a long-term fixture in Southgate’s squad.
His toughness and excellent fitness may not always strike the eye – Leeds fans will tell you that his influence is best felt when he is not in the team – but his physicality and supreme fitness provide world-class protection.
Phillips also showed off his passing range, and his assist for Sterling in the first group game showcased his offensive prowess.