SO in the end England didn’t even have the satisfaction of only going out on penalties to the eventual tournament winners.
Italy, it should be said, were good in the European Championships final. On another day against another team they might well have won.
But, as anyone who saw the match will testify, Spain were in a class of their own.
Their skill, imagination, passing and the ability to hold onto the ball were all exemplary.
They also demonstrated that there is an even bigger gulf between England and the best teams in the world than we thought.
It will be interesting to see though how the home team fares in the Olympic football competition: a bizarre tournament completely overshadowed by what we’ve just been watching in Poland and Ukraine as well as the World Cup in which many countries are represented by their second teams.
As it is being held within these shores, Great Britain for once is bothering to enter with a nearly all-England squad.
More a curiosity than a showcase of sporting excellence, we might prove to be quite good if the pressure’s off.