LONDON – After England exited the Euro 2012 soccer championships after a Sunday night penalty shootout with Italy, some familiar names from the world of entertainment took to Twitter Sunday and Monday to commiserate.
Many of the tweets referenced England's continuing inability to win a penalty shootout in major soccer competitions, including the Euro championships in 1996 and 2004.
British CNN host and soccer fan Piers Morgan, a fan of British club Arsenal, used his reaction to reference Ashley Cole, a player who famously left the club Morgan follows to join archrivals Chelsea - and missed one of England's vital penalty kicks on Sunday. "Well, the only consolation is we can now blame Ashley Cole," Morgan said. "Let's be honest, we were crap tonight, and the Germans would have hammered us," Morgan added about Italy's semifinal opponents.
Black Eyed Peas singer and songwriter will.i.am, one of the judges on the U.K. edition of singing contest The Voice, showed his allegiance to his adopted home.
"I was watching the game with my heart racing the entire game...I wanted England to win so bad..." the singer-songwriter tweeted.
And British R&B and pop singer Alexandra Burke, who won the X-Factor here in the U.K. in 2008, chimed in emotionally. "I'm actually crying! Proud of England... They done their thing! Unlucky tho," Burke tweeted.
Actress Frances Barber, one of the stars of TV series Silk and an actress who is a stalwart of British theater, demanded to know in caps: "WHY CAN'T WE EVER WIN AT PENALTIES?"
Actor, writer and director Noel Clarke, who won a best screenplay award for his screenwriting debut effort Kidulthood at the Dinard British Film Festival in 2006, eyed the future with optimism though. "That England team will be mature and ready for the world cup. COME ON ENGLAND!!," Clarke said.
For some, Sunday night's loss was a chance for humor. Controversial Scottish stand-up comedian Frankie Boyle left noone in any doubt over Scotland's continuing rivalry with England. "It's been refreshing to be able to hate this England team for purely football reasons," Boyle said.
Fellow stand-up, satirical news quiz show presenter and Irishman Dara O'Briain was impressed by Italy and the cool head of its star Andrea Pirlo who beat the English goalkeeper with one of the key penaltiesl. Said O'Briain: "Commiserations to England, but wow, Pirlo is The Man."
Filmmaker Duncan Jones tweeted during the game: "Getting a bit annoyed now... England, if you can't be bothered trying to score more goals, stop entering football competitions."
The seemingly traditional exit in a penalty shootout was watched by a peak audience of 23.2 million viewers, or a 77 percent share.
British newspapers also took aim at the failure while trying to outdo one another with headlines to savor.
The U.K.'s best-selling tabloid The Sun, published by News Corp. division News International, used the banner headline "Anyone for Tennis?" with the added line: "England Lose on pens again....bring on Wimbledon" The world-famous tennis tournament served up its first games Monday.
News International's The Times went for a simpler "Arrivederci England" to cover the loss to Italy on its front page. The tabloid Daily Mail tried to be sanguine: "It Always Ends in Penalties…It Always Ends in Tears," its title read. And the Guardian led with "Down and out. England pay the penalty yet again."