The Arsenal teenager, one of the outstanding performers of the Euros, saw his spot-kick saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma to prolong the Three Lions’ wait for a second major trophy.
Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho also failed to score in the shootout, but it was Saka’s miss that condemned England to defeat.
Luke Shaw revealed the words of encouragement offered to the 19-year-old in the aftermath of last night’s defeat. “He’s devastated,” said the Manchester United left-back, who had fired England ahead inside two minutes.
“But the most important thing for us is to be there for him and give him a big hug, tell him to keep his head up.
“It’s a penalty shootout, anything can happen, but we’re all behind him. It’s an experience he will learn from it — not just him, but Rashy and Sancho also. We’re with them all, there’s no individuals, we’re together as a team.”
Leonardo Bonucci’s second-half equaliser sent the game into extra time and then penalties.
Defeat ended Gareth Southgate’s dream of following in the footsteps of Sir Alf Ramsey by becoming a trophy-winning England manager.
Shaw added: “It’s devastating, gutting. We were very confident, we felt in a good way and we felt we were going in the right direction. We gave everything we could and yet we came up short.
“It was a step in the direction of what we want to achieve. A Euros final, first time in history that’s happened, but that’s not enough. We wanted to win and we came up short.
“We made the nation proud, and that’s very important to us. [In the end] it wasn’t what we wanted or what they wanted, but it brought joy to people, brought some smiles. Even though we ended on a low, the experience we had as a team, with the fans we had here, will be memories we won’t forget.
“But as a team, we can always keep improving. The good thing about the group is that there’s a lot of young players who are only going to mature and gain experience from tonight.
“When a big blow like this comes, it will hurt for a while, but we’re back in camp next month, a new adventure is the World Cup and we want to qualify for that.”