Paris - England's humiliating defeat by Iceland provided the sensation of Euro 2016 and left the team staggering into an uncertain future without a manager or a sense of direction.
A talented new generation of players spearheaded by Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane had raised hopes that England would mark the 50th anniversary of their 1966 World Cup win with a strong showing in France.
But after finishing second below Wales in Group B, they were dumped out in the last 16 by Iceland, population 330,000, extending their run without a semi-final appearance at a major tournament to 20 years.
The team and the Football Association faced withering criticism.
"The perennial problem (is that) when it gets to the business end of the tournament, England seem brittle," said FA chief executive Martin Glenn.
"We need to understand why that is."
On top of Glenn's in-tray is the search for a new manager, after Roy Hodgson responded to the 2-1 loss to Iceland by immediately announcing his resignation in the Nice stadium press conference room.
Glenn hinted that the job would be offered on an interim basis to England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate, only for reports to emerge that the former Middlesbrough manager was not interested.
Other names touted include 38-year-old Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, one of the leading young coaches in the English Premier League.
Also mentioned are former England manager Glenn Hoddle, Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce, United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, former Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink and Arsene Wenger, whose contract with Arsenal expires next year.
England start their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign away to Slovakia on September 4, but Glenn says the FA is prepared to let an interim manager take on the role if it helps to land the right long-term successor to Hodgson.
In the meantime, the now familiar soul-searching that follows England's elimination from major tournaments is in full swing.
Previously, England's failures have been ascribed to fatigue caused by the lack of a mid-season break in English football or to the dwindling pool of home-grown players in the Premier League.
But those theories were blown out of the water by underdogs Wales, who reached the semi-finals with a squad of largely England-based players drawn from a far smaller reservoir of talent.
The post-mortem has also flagged up mental factors, with England's accused of having fatal psychological flaws that only manifest themselves at major tournaments.
England captain Wayne Rooney confessed that the team struggled to plot their way through matches.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said the Premier League's academy system and high wages had produced a generation of players who were simply "too soft".
With Hodgson having selected England's youngest tournament squad since the 1958 World Cup, there is plenty of raw material for his successor to work with.
But some senior players approach the World Cup qualifying campaign with question marks over their heads.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart was at fault for two goals in France, including the strike by Iceland's Kolbeinn Sigthorsson that ultimately sealed England's fate.
Rooney's role, meanwhile, looks more uncertain than ever.
He has expressed a desire to retreat into a deeper position, but new Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has vowed that England's leading scorer will "never" play in midfield during his tenure.
In addition to the vacancy in the dugout, the FA is also without a chairman, Greg Dyke's time at the helm having ended.
Dyke admitted defeat in his drive to modernise the FA's administrative structures and his predecessor, David Bernstein, has warned that England cannot hope to achieve success on the pitch without a boardroom shakeup.
"You can take any manager you like," Bernstein told the Sunday Telegraph.
"But a fish rots from the head and if you do not get the head right then the rest will not be right."