YOU have to feel for Dean Henderson.
The England keeper saved a penalty – and was still upstaged by team-mate Phil Foden with a wondergoal.
4 Aaron Wan-Bissaka scored a last-gasp own goal to gift France victoryCredit: AFP
4 Jonathan Ikone had scored in the 89th minute to level things up in ItalyCredit: Rex Features
Then if that was not cruel enough for Henderson he then conceded two late goals which leave the Young Lions’ Euro 2019 hopes hanging by a thread.
It was harsh on the stopper and his team-mates who battered France in the first half with one of their best displays of modern times.
But in the end Aidy Boothroyd’s boys paid for not taking their chances and after surviving two penalties their luck and bravery ran out as Les Bleus staged a late comeback which never looked on the cards when it was 11 v 11.
But Hamza Choudhury’s 63rd minute red card, upped from a yellow by the VAR, changed the course of this game.
Jonathan Ikone’s 90th minute equaliser and Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s stoppage time own goal means Phil Foden’s sensational goal ultimately counted for nothing.
And that is probably the biggest shame of it all as it is arguably one of the best ever solo efforts scored in an England shirt.
Second only to John Barnes’ strike against Brazil in the Maracana in 1984.
The Dino Manuzzi Stadium may not be anything like the old Maracana but it was a privilege to witness Foden’s strike last night.
The score was locked at 0-0 when Foden picked the ball up in the 54th minute midway in his half and headed for goal.
The Manchester City prospect beat four French defenders before slotting the ball into the net.
England thought they had added a second moments later when Ryan Sessegnon tapped in Dominic Solanke’s cross only for it to be ruled out by the VAR.
And the video killed the England stars after Serbian ref Srdjan Jovanovic awarded France their second penalty of the night after Choudhury had sent Jonathan Bamba crashing in the box.
Jovanovic showed the Leicester midfielder a yellow card before upgrading it to red on the VAR’s advice.
Houssem Aouar fired the spot kick against the post but England’s good fortune was only brief.
Ikone levelled with a soft shot in the 90th minute before Wan-Bissaka fired into his own net as England snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
There could be no words for England after their impressive display.
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Boothroyd’s team selection, despite much speculation before kick off, threw up no real surprises.
Some eyebrows may have been raised by the decision to start Dominic Solanke at striker instead of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
But while Calvert-Lewin may have shone more in the Premier League this season, Solanke has been the deadlier of the two in front of the goal for the Young Lions, netting six in his previous four appearances to take his tally, coming into last night’s game, to nine from 17 caps.
That left him needing just four more to become the U21s’ joint all-time highest scorer, alongside Alan Shearer and Franny Jeffers.
And Solanke should have been at least one goal closer to the milestone when Demarai Gray’s 16th minute cross found him free in the box but he somehow turned his shot wide when it seemed easier to score.
That came just moments after Ryan Sessegnon’s cross had been turned against his own post by France defender Ibrahima Konate as England made a promising start.
It looked like that would go to waste when Les Bleus were awarded that penalty.
There was no doubting the decision was correct as Jeff Reine-Adelaide’s header definitely hit England captain Jake Salter-Clarke’s outstretched arm.
Moussa Dembele stepped up to take the kick and saw it brilliantly saved by Henderson, who had said in the build up he was relishing the chance to face a penalty so he could become a hero
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He would have become one had it not been for the wastefulness of those in front of him.
Gray wasted another great chance for England when, with only France keeper Paul Bernardoni to beat, he could only steer his shot into the side-netting.
And when the Leicester star blazed another chance over the bar just before half-time you wondered how many more chances England could afford to waste.
The answer came after the break as France stormed back to win and take a grip of Group C.
With only the winners of the three groups and the best runners-up going through to the last four, England look to be on their way out.
4 Phil Foden had earlier scored a stunning solo goal to give England the leadCredit: PA:Press Association
4 Foden celebrated his wondergoal, but in the end it was all for noughtCredit: PA:Press Association