HERBIE Farnworth summed up in three words what the country is feeling – it f***ing hurts.
Another three years of World Cup hurt coming up, just when it started to look like 50 may end.
And the pain of seeing a previously brilliant England side fluff its lines on the big stage in front of more than 40,000 fans in London has not dulled.
Sam Tomkins’ forward pass gave Samoa position from which Stephen Crichton slotted over the 83rd minute golden point sickener.
That summed up a display in which Shaun Wane’s side was its own worst enemy – little wonder the boss choked back tears afterwards. He knew, like the rest of us, this was a golden chance.
And there can be few arguments with centre Farnworth as he said: “Gutted doesn’t come close, it just hurts. It f***ing hurts.
“Even now, I still can’t really believe we lost.
“That first half was probably the first time we’d not played really well. We’d made a big deal about coming out in the first half and really giving it to the other teams.
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“But with that one, I don’t know what happened, It just wasn’t us. We just went away from what we’ve done well. We didn’t complete at all, we gave them chances.
“We had a strong fightback towards the end but it wasn’t enough. Errors again killed us. It just really, really hurts.
“We’ve got no-one to blame but ourselves.”
Centre Farnworth’s 60-metre effort from George Williams’ break – his second try of the game – and Tommy Makinson’s goal sent the game beyond 80 minutes.
But Crichton’s strike was like a pin pricking a balloon full of hope as rugby league looked like breaking through nationally.
After four fantastic performances, hope began to turn into expectation. Wane’s men had demolished all before them – not least Samoa in the opening game 60-6.
As has been the case so often, though, it is the hope that kills you.
Tim Lafai – who was not even in Samoa’s squad at the start of the tournament – scored two tries while Crichton also scored two to add to three goals.
If anything, though, it was seeing Hull FC’s Ligi Sao steal and slide over from dummy half that really showed how far England were from their previous standards.
Errors, knock ons, poor kicks, wrong last tackle options. You name it, Wane’s side produced it.
Farnworth’s second, which added to scores from John Bateman and Elliott Whitehead, and Makinson’s five goals, gave England momentum as the game went into sudden death.
And the 22-year-old added: “When I scored, I definitely thought we’d go on to win.
“We always believed that we were going to come back and we believe we can come back against any team.”
Mike Cooper also believes this is a blip rather than the end of all hope forever.
The Wigan prop said: “I’ve no doubt England will win a World cup.
“England will win a major trophy, a major series, I have no doubt about that. With the team we have here, the young kids we’ve got, the coaching staff we’ve got, England will win trophies in the future.
“How many opportunities did we need? We kept clawing back but credit to Samoa. I hope they get the job done now.
“But we need to stay together as a group now and learn from it.”