At the end of a thrilling, impossibly tense World Cup quarter final, it was the most agonising of endings for Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Just as it always seems to be in major tournaments with England.
Rooney trudges off in shame.
Out on penalties. Out with huge drama and vast courage. But out. What is it about Englishmen and a little spot just 12 yards from goal?
The dates - 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004. And now 2006. All occasions when nerve and technique have deserted England's boys when they needed it most.
But if this was the cruellest of finales to Eriksson's five-year reign then we should also not forget the shame.
Just as David Beckham had wrecked England's World Cup dream with a moment of madness in France '98, Wayne Rooney's suspect temper betrayed his country when they needed him most.
A stamp on Portugal and Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho which would have interested the riot police in this city had it occurred on the High Street was followed by a push on Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.
This was no mere flick of the leg like Beckham's in Saint-Etienne. This was a full-blown stamp into the groin of Carvalho. Dangerous. Potentially maiming. The refuge of a streetfighter.
And if Rooney was being wrestled in a Portuguese sandwich at the time then it was no excuse for losing his temper so recklessly on the biggest stage.
It had always been the fear.
Not a boy who was struggling for his best form as he tried to recover full fitness and form with amazing speed after suffering that broken metatarsal.
Not a boy whose body language said he was simmering with frustration.
It meant England playing from just after the hour with 10 men. And in truth it disrupted a head of steam which had looked increasingly likely to present Eriksson with the semi-final berth he believed was his destiny.
Instead, it meant England producing another of those valiant rearguard actions, the 10 men still standing straining every sinew in the cause. England are good at valour. And in extra-time they were magnificent, breaking speedily. Penalty claims, flying saves, gripping stuff, a headed goal from Helder Postiga ruled offside.
Rooney should go round every one of those team-mates and apologise.
And so Eriksson's legacy as England manager comes down to three losing quarter finals, two against Portugal and one against Brazil, the latter in the last World Cup in Japan.
An average return in some respects but in the context of this tournament a deeply disappointing one.
This was supposed to be the golden generation of English footballers, the best bunch since Sir Alf Ramsey unleashed his wingless wonders on the world back in 1966.
They were supposed to be reaching their peak with perfect timing. And yet, until the final 50 minutes or so of this gripping affair they had been too cautious, too scared to unleash that golden talent.
Eriksson kept telling us their real form was just around the corner. We hoped. We prayed. Forever more Eriksson will wonder whether he should have used Aaron Lennon sooner, whether he should have gone for it rather than sat on his five-man midfield.
Too often senior players such as Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard simply fell too far below the imperious standard they have set in the Premiership.
David Beckham was not nearly as bad as his most abrasive critics insisted, but his reputation once more outstripped his influence.
In the end, however, history will show this was Eriksson at his most flawed. From the reckless gamble to take just four strikers, even though one was injured and another 17 and never having played in the Premiership, to the fog of confusion which shrouded his midfield tactics.
He talked a good game, his players failed to play one. That is the story of World Cup 2006.
Having said that this quarter-final was a real football match, a probing affair full of attacking intent from its early stages.
A game of half chances, both sides looking to play on the counter. Intriguing, a flickering flame of a match.
But always much better than what had gone before. England owed much of that to the man who has taken such fearful flak during Eriksson's reign - Owen Hargreaves.
The Bayern Munich midfielder was everywhere, breaking up attacks in the holding role England so desperately need.
But surging forward too, setting up attacks, getting in crosses. Eriksson has always sworn by Hargreaves' talent and he was at the fulcrum of the English game. For me the man of the match by some distance, so much so that the fans took up the chant "There's only one Owen Hargreaves.' In truth England could have done with half a dozen.
As they battled on, Eriksson earnestly poring over notes in the dugout along with his successor Steve McClaren, while Scolari paced his technical area like a caged tiger, screaming, gesticulating.
Then came Beckham's agony, falling awkwardly after contesting a header, injuring his knee and limping off to be replaced by Lennon.
The tears were of a man who believed his World Cup was over.
If only Rooney had not lost it. If only Eriksson had believed in Lennon earlier. If only, if only. A tiny phrase but one which right now sums up England's World Cup challenge for 40 years.