England captain Harry Kane complained Dutch referee Danny Makkelie wasn't strong enough to allow Danny Welbeck's goal deep into stoppage time as the Three Lions lost 2-1 to Spain on Saturday.
In their first game since reaching the semi-finals at the World Cup, England were denied a point to begin their Nations League campaign when Makkelie awarded a foul in favour of Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea for minimal contact with Welbeck.
"In the big moments you need the referee to stay strong, but unfortunately he has bottled it," Kane told Sky Sports.
"Big moments you need a firm referee who don't, under the pressure, get wrong decisions, basically.
"Danny stood there, De Gea went up, he caught the ball but, as he went down, he fell on Danny, no foul or anything, and the ball has dropped."
Despite the euphoria as Gareth Southgate's men reached the last four at the World Cup for the first time in 28 years, England have now lost three consecutive matches for the first time in 30 years.
After losing to Croatia in the semi-finals in Russia, England were also beaten by Belgium in the third-place playoff.
However, Kane, who picked up his Golden Boot for finishing top scorer at the World Cup before kick-off at Wembley, insists there is still plenty to be positive about.
"It was difficult but we had good spells in the game and we probably created the better chances," added Kane.
"There's a lot of stuff we can learn from, but I think we can hold our heads up high."