England went out of the World Cup 3-1 on penalties after their quarter-final with Portugal ended 0-0.
England lost skipper David Beckham to injury just after half-time and Wayne Rooney was sent off after 62 minutes for a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho.
They battled on bravely for the rest of normal time and extra-time with 10 men to take the game to a shoot-out.
But Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher missed to end their hopes and Sven-Goran Eriksson's reign.
The Swede leaves his post as England coach after going out at the quarter-final stage of a major tournament for the third time in succession and now hands over to Steve McClaren.
Eriksson had promised a big performance from his side but until Rooney's early exit it was not forthcoming.
The young striker endured a frustrating game and his patience finally snapped as he got tangled up with Carvalho and Armando Petit and appeared to aim a stamp at the Chelsea player's groin.
The incident occurred right in front of Argentine referee Horacio Elizondo, who was urged on by Portugal players - including Rooney's Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo - to issue a red card.
Elizondo took a moment before sending Rooney from the field and with him seemingly went England's World Cup hopes.
But roared on by the England fans that made the AufSchalke Arena like a home game, they finally showed the passion and heart for a battle so often missing in this World Cup campaign.
Portugal were far from their best but they at least caused some worrying moments at the back for England in a tense first half.
A deep Luis Figo free-kick was not dealt with by Gary Neville or Lampard and there was huge relief for England to see Tiago slip with the goal at his mercy.
Tiago almost caused further problems when he was given a free header in the box that Paul Robinson clambered across to save.
Eriksson was forced to change things round six minutes into the second half with Beckham struggling with an ankle problem.
Beckham almost won a penalty with his last contribution of the game - and probably his chances of winning a World Cup - when his cross hit the hand of Nuno Valente but England's appeals came to nothing.
He was replaced by Aaron Lennon and was seen on the sidelines looking anguished as treatment was performed on his ankle, although he did later bear the pain long enough to berate the referee following Rooney's dismissal.
Lampard, who endured another miserable time in front of goal, mistimed a volley after finding himself unmarked from a Gerrard corner.
Lennon's introduction gave England brief hope as his pace took him past two players, but when the ball fell for Rooney he almost completely missed and Joe Cole's effort was just too high.
But then came Rooney's premature exit, with Jole Cole sacrificed for Peter Crouch.
With temperatures again close to 30C it seemed only so long that England's brave 10-man backs-to-the-wall effort could hold out the Portugal onslaught.
England's best hope of a goal was a set-piece and Lampard fired in a free-kick that Ricardo did well to keep out, with Lennon scuffing his attempt to put in the rebound.
A deflected John Terry shot just looped over the bar after some brilliant work from an outstanding Owen Hargreaves, but Helder Postiga also blazed over in a nerve-jangling injury time.
The drama continued through to extra-time with England showing remarkable energy to match their opponents.
Crouch almost got on the end of a Gerrard cross but at the other end it needed some desperate last-ditch defending and some solid keeping from Robinson.
The game seemed destined to be decided by a penalty shoot-out, just like when the sides met at the same stage of Euro 2004.
And unfortunately for England it ended in the same result - with Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari getting the better of Eriksson.
Only Hargreaves - who had easily his best game in an England shirt - was successful from the spot.
Lampard, Gerrard and Carragher - who scored at the first attempt but had to retake - all saw their efforts saved by Ricardo, who became the first player in World Cup shoot-out history to save three penalties.
Hugo Viana and Armando Petit had missed to give Eriksson's side brief hope, but when Helder Postiga and Ronaldo scored England's dream of being crowned world champions was over for another four years.
Portugal now face France in Wednesday's semi-final in Munich.