ENGLAND Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce bemoaned a momentary lapse of concentration as his side were dumped out of the European Championships by Czech Republic.
When Danny Welbeck put England ahead with 14 minutes to go it looked as though Pearce's men would advance to the last four.
But Czech substitutes Jan Chramosta and Tomas Pekhart struck in the final minute and in stoppage-time to condemn England to an extraordinary defeat.
"Once we got our noses in front, we knew it was going to be difficult," Pearce told Sky Sports 1.
"We are disappointed as a group as we felt after taking the lead we should have held on to it.
"They didn't really cause us a problem all evening defensively but we switched off for a minute, it falls to their player, and it's 1-1.
"The second goal was neither here nor there."
Pearce felt England at least bowed out on the back of an improved display in what has been a disappointing tournament in Denmark.
He added: "It was probably the best performance of the tournament. But perhaps us going home now was symptomatic of us not passing the ball well enough in the first two games.
"This is a culmination of a two-year period, not just a one-off.
"The players put their hearts and souls into it. And for one or two it's the end of the line at Under-21 level."
As for any post mortem, Pearce said: "We will have a look at it when my emotions have settled down a little bit.
"I was told by members of the press corps a game ago our tournament was a failure even though we are the top seeds in Europe.
"We have to take it on the chin and we wish the Czechs well."