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England's failings exposed

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Phil McNulty | 19:36 UK time, Sunday, 27 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Bloemfontein

If England carry a burning sense of injustice as part of their baggage on the long flight home from South Africa on Monday night, Fabio Capello and his players will fool only themselves.

Capello's complaint about the incompetence of officialdom after England's humiliating last-16 exit against Germany was little more than a flimsy fig leaf when it came to disguising shortcomings exposed in a World Cup campaign that was a monument to mediocrity.

England's coach, of course, had every right to draw attention to one of the worst decisions in the tournament's history as a mitigating factor in their eventual defeat by a vastly-superior Germany.

Capello must not think, however, that Uruguayan linesman Mauricio Espinosa's failure to spot Frank Lampard's clever finish dropping well behind Manuel Neuer's goalline with the score at 2-1 was a defining moment that somehow blocked England's path to glory.

The course of the game may have been altered had Lampard's goal, moments after Matthew Upson had reduced Germany's two-goal lead, stood. On the other hand, it may not.

Germany will simply regard it as schadenfreude, payback time 44 years on for Sir Geoff Hurst's goal in the 1966 World Cup Final that gave England their first and last win in the tournament.

What is beyond dispute is that England's standing in world football was put into context by the manner in which they were comprehensively dismantled by Germany's speed of thought and limb that left a side that arrived here with so much hope looking lumbering and old.

England boss Fabio CapelloCapello vents his feelings during England's 4-1 defeat by Germany - photo: Getty

England had a good 15 minutes either side of Lampard's "ghost goal". The rest was a horror show that maybe we should have seen coming given the performances of Capello's team since they landed in South Africa.

Franz Beckenbauer was criticised here for his contemptuous remarks deriding England as a "kick and rush" team heading backwards under Capello. They carried more resonance when a light was shone on the difference between these two teams - maybe "Der Kaiser" had a point after all.

Not a single England player, with perhaps the exception of David James, enhanced their reputation in Bloemfontein. John Terry and Matthew Upson were pillars, almost literally, in defence and Germany ran through midfield at will.

England were cut to ribbons, by-passed and pedestrian in midfield and impotent in attack. It was that bad.

And, in one of the great South African puzzles, Wayne Rooney's World Cup has come and gone without England's most celebrated young player making an impact.

From the moment he erupted in fury against Platinum Stars, he has cut a subdued figure, struggling for form and fitness. Rooney's failure under pressure will remain one of the big mysteries of England's time here.

If this was, as touted, one of the worst and most inexperienced Germany teams to play at a World Cup, it delivers a gruesome verdict on England. Inexperienced or not, they taught this ageing England team a painful lesson.

Many of those following the England camp, myself included, clutched at straws offered by victory against Slovenia. Such was the paucity of quality in their performances against the United States and Algeria that a win against the tournament's smallest nation was built up by a succession of players as a foundation for victory against Germany.

From the opening moments, when Mesut Ozil sliced England open, the false dawn was uncovered again.

Indeed, once Thomas Mueller added two goals to first-half strikes from Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, there was the real danger that Germany would equal, and perhaps even eclipse, England's 5-1 win in Munich in 2001.

It was the smallest of mercies that this particular embarrassment was avoided, but there is no consolation to take from the rest of England's stay at their opulent Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus headquarters.

Capello will be the central figure in the inquest that is bound to follow England's World Cup, which started to veer off course weeks before departure for South Africa.

From the farce of the Capello index to the chaotic squad selection, the Italian mislaid the golden touch that saw England sail untroubled through qualifying.

Capello's selection values were suddenly ditched, with retired players taking calls and injured players taking to the plane for South Africa. It was as if his iron resolve wavered fatally at the last moment and it never returned.

Jamie Carragher's recall from England exile was not a success, while even the plea to Manchester United's Paul Scholes appeared more of an act of desperation than a sound plan as the World Cup went on.

Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and John TerryRooney, Gerrard and Terry failed to live up to their reputations in South Africa - photo: Reuters

Capello shows no signs of quitting although he will hold talks with the Football Association. The question to be asked is could anyone do any better assembling a team handicapped by the rigours of a gruelling Premier League season and the shortage of outstanding young English talent?

The FA, having removed a break clause in Capello's contract that could ultimately prove expensive, must also ponder whether they could seriously find an upgrade on the current incumbent.

This is for another day. When the ashes of England's World Cup are raked over, it would appear it was ill-starred from day one when captain Rio Ferdinand suffered a serious knee injury and was ruled out.

Capello's decision to play Robert Green in goal backfired against the United States and talk of splits in England's camp surfaced after former captain Terry's now infamous media conference.

And, when hope was offered by their solitary win against Slovenia, old rivals Germany were waiting to douse England in ice cold realism.

Capello had as undistinguished a World Cup as his players, showing tactical inflexibilty by relying on the goal-shy old warhorse Emile Heskey to partner Wayne Rooney in England's opening two games. This was misplaced loyalty and ensured his side never gathered serious momentum.

I long campaigned for Capello to try Steven Gerrard, England's best player in South Africa, behind Rooney but he seemed set in concrete when it came to his planning and it was never given serious consideration.

If Capello does stay, he may have to call time on the careers of some of England's so-called "Golden Generation", who have flouted that tag in a succession of major tournaments.

James will surely make way for Joe Hart in goal, while even old stalwarts such as Terry, Lampard and Gerrard will come under closer scrutiny, although a dearth of potential replacements may prolong their England careers.

Ashley Cole will continue at left-back but Glen Johnson remains a defensive liability against top-class opposition. Shaun Wright-Phillips has surely failed to produce for a final time while Aaron Lennon was also a disappointment.

Capello clearly did not trust Peter Crouch, so if he remains in charge he faces a huge task to unearth the gems that can take England towards Euro 2012.

As England's players filed past disconsolately in the bowels of the Free State Stadium, they looked like men who had aged visibly alongside the fresh-faced Germany team who were only to happy to discuss their emphatic triumph.

It was England's World Cup in microcosm. Lethargic, listless, subdued - a campaign that finished as it started, in bitter disappointment.

When England recall these past four weeks in South Africa, it should be remembered as the World Cup that passed them by.

And, if they look to Germany as the template, the Football Association must accept the future started when the final whistle sounded on this desperate South African mission.

England and the Football Association must not hide behind a linesman's failure to give a goal - it would be another grave error among many committed in South Africa.


David James: One of the few England players to distinguish himself. Made two fine first-half saves but should have done better with Germany's third. 6

Glen Johnson: Defensive deficiencies once again exposed against class opposition. 5

Ashley Cole: Not one of his better nights. Struggled as England fell apart late on. 5.

John Terry: Poor performance and lack of mobility exploited by Germany. Caught badly out of position for first goal. 4.

Matthew Upson Poor. Badly positioned and then feeble in the challenge for Miroslav Klose's first goal. May not be seen at England level again. 4.

James Milner: Low-key and made little impact. 5.

Frank Lampard: Did everything he could to get England going. Robbed of a goal by a linesman's failure to spot his effort dropping behind the line and also hit the bar. 6

Gareth Barry: Dreadful night for England's midfield anchor. Gave the ball away for Germany's third then a weak tackle contributed to their fourth. 4.

Steven Gerrard: Tried manfully but to no avail. 5.

Wayne Rooney: Disappointing end to a desperately disappointing World Cup. 5.

Jermain Defoe: Anonymous. 5.


Joe Cole: Unable to influence the game as it drifted away from England. 5.

Emile Heskey: No time to change the course of the game. Surely his final England performance. 5

Shaun Wright-Phillips: Only on in dying minutes. No rating.

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Page 1 of 12

  • Comment number 1.

    We woz robbed.

    Yes we were rubbish, but we woz also robbed dammit.

  • Comment number 2.

    I predicted a match with few goals (1-0 1-1 etc.) but I overestimated the England defense.

  • Comment number 3.

    The worst thing is, today, England were not beyond salvation. I heard Joe Cole saying that the best team won, and John Terry said there were no exuses. Well, for 35 minutes England were absolutely abysmal, but it could so easily have been 2-2 and they could have started again. From playing really badly England could have been level and started again.

    After Upson made it 2-1, until they scored to make it 3-1, it wasn't all that bad. OK, we looked fairly toothless thanks to Capello's poor set up and a seeming lack of motivation in the players. But we were so unprofessional at 2-1 it is untrue. John Terry - what was he doing up the field for the 3rd goal, and the 4th? We had absolutely no cover and could not resist their counter attacks.

    If there was one player to blame today (of course there isn't going to be one) - John Terry had an absolute stinker. For all 4 goals he was either in part, or completely culpable. He's supposed to be a world class centre back. Our saviour Gareth Barry was abysmal too, and Rooney - well, doesn't anybody actually know what has happened to him?

    Capello has played his part from Day 1 of this tournament. He's got it so so badly wrong. From the poor set up and formation, to the seeming lack of motivation in the players, to the failure to transfer his ideas into the players, to the poor substitutions and the lack of will to change.

    Germany were made to look really good today. And they are a good side, but England's horror show made it easy for them.

    In so many ways, this is an almost complete reverse of Munich 2001. We have a decent (no world beaters) side in Germany taking advantage of a poorly set up opposition lacking in confidence and hitting them with several goals on the counter attack. It is almost roles reversed from all those years ago.

  • Comment number 4.

    it was a shocking performance and england need to look to the future, changes are needed,Gerrard and Lampard as good as they are for club sides cannot play together so why do we continue to pick both?? i thought it was about picking the best team not the best individuals. Rooney perhaps fitness was a big factor but should of been played as a lone striker as thats what he has played this season, with a 5man attack, anyone with half a braincell might of realised that england have better midfielders than attackers so 4-5-1 IMO should of been the formation to use. The fallout from this world cup is going to be long and painful i just hope the england players are ready for it.

  • Comment number 5.

    Oh dear England cracks have been papered over for too long with the "Golden Generation"and it was clear to see in the warm up games and whole tournament........ I said from the start my heart hopes England win the world cup with some luck but sadly head said they wouldn't....Simple. Rooney Unfit/Injured with the performances the whole tournament the No# 1 Captain Rio Ferdinand was sorely missed.......

  • Comment number 6.

    No imagination, no creativity, no fluidity, poor movement. Defensively - nothing need be said. Heskey on when England needed a goal, below par performances from great players. Too often, negative and defensive tactics from Capello.

    But it's no surprise.

    Under Capello, England have been outclassed by Spain and Brazil in friendlies and have always struggled against remotely decent sides. More recently Mexico and Japan have also scared England.

    Great players - poor team. I think that sums England up.

  • Comment number 7.

    You've rated Terry, Upson, and Barry more generously than I would have, Phil. None of them should deserve more than 3 out of 10 (not even Upson with his goal)...

  • Comment number 8.

    " Not a single England player, with perhaps the exception of David James, enhanced their reputation in Bloemfontein."


    I thought Lampard played quite well, as did Gerrard. I see you gave them good marks also. The most puzzling let-down was Rooneys performance - his entire World Cup was so very disappointing. James could perhaps have done better on a couple of those goals.

    But you have to tip your hat to Germany for a superb performance. The speed of their counterattacks in particular was breathtaking, as was their movement off the ball. England I thought played rather better than against Slovenia - but against much better opposition.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Why on earth should Rooney's lack of form be a big surprise? His form for the last quarter of MUFC's campaign was pretty subdued when he came back from injury.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm sorry - everything has been changed other than the players, and THAT is the problem England have.

    Italy were shocking - but there was never any belief in Italy that they would win it again. They know that a rebuild is in order and whilst they may not like it, they have to accept that it will be a long road to build up a team again to challenge on the world stage.

    In England however, there was a massive clamour that they could win. Whilst confidence is admirable, some of the hysteria was ridiculous - and it's because of this hysteria that these player believe the hype. All the talk of penalties, of Algeria's WC final, of the 'class' performance against Slovenia - all rubbish.

    English football is in the same position that Italy's was 10\15 years ago - loads of money, foreign players, no academy players getting a lookin - and look what happened there. History is repeating itself in England, and I wish someone would do something about it. Sooner or later, corruption will rear it's head, as it's unavoidable with that amount of cash sloshing around the EPL.

    It's criminal that this is being allowed to happen.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm sorry to see England leave the competition, but I feel they were overrated by their own press, and the players had perhaps started to believe their plaudits. I remember Alan Shearer saying for the BBC that he would not really know which of the England eleven he would leave out, if he had the choice from a world eleven (!), after a very good display against Croatia.
    Fabio Capello was hailed as the savior after the nearly faultless qualifying campaign, and now suddenly he is worse than Sven Goran Eriksson ! The players should do some soulsearching, and the England scouts should look for fresh talent. It would be a good idea to limit the amount of foreign talent in the Premier League in order to give more young English players a chance to flourish.
    Signed: seve2

  • Comment number 13.

    Not sure Steven Gerrard was England's best player in South Africa. Hopelessly out of sorts today (albeit out of position). So many desperate efforts from range that either lacked any sort of power or went painfully wide.
    Who out of this squad will be at Brazil 2014?
    -Milner, maybe.
    -Rooney, almost certainly.
    -Joe Hart.

    Can't see anyone else really, ageing squad that looked so short of pace today, highlighted by Gareth Barry getting absolutely done for pace when he had a head start against Ozil for Muller's second.

    I don't want to blame Capello, but when he came into this job, we all admired his unconventional attitude to England. But in the face of it, that team looked very similar to the one we saw at Germany 2006.
    And the tactics were awful, just awful. And the Defoe - Heskey substitution summarised our whole tournament.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm a Scot but what is obvious is that the British (not just English) style of play is a busted flush. None of us can play possession football and unless we change our coaching methods the UK teams can forget about competing in major tournaments.

    Feel sorry for most England fans. The English media are unbelieveably arrogant on their team and I get tired reading it but I read enough posts on these blogs to know that many of your fans were not convinced by your team. Simple truth: you weren't good enough over the four games you played.

    But don't let the media 'disappointment' bandwagon lead you into sacking coaches and hounding players! It makes no sense even though it may make some people feel better! The so-called 'golden generation' as far as WC's go is over!

  • Comment number 15.

    Bringing on Emile Heskey was a peculiar decision, surely. I expected to see Crouch, who at least has a goal-scoring record.

  • Comment number 16.

    Steven Gerrard's talents were woefully wasted in this tournament. OK he didn't set the world alight, but there were times when he looked ready to explode into life, but he was isolated out of games far too much. Lampard tried his best but could not cope with his centre midfield role, a role he surely hasn't played for absolutely years at Chelsea. Once our best players are foresaken in what was a formation that no one in the eleven is used to, then we are going to have problems. Only Wayne Rooney can explain his criminally bad performances, as the team really was built in mind of exploiting his talents.

  • Comment number 17.

    An interesting question is how many of Englands players would actually be selected for an English Premier League "Best of XI" - I venture to suggest it would be very few, the majority of positions would be filled by overseas players. This I believe gets to the heart of Englands problems - not enough quality at the highest level.

  • Comment number 18.

    Germany 4 England 1
    I maintain that the pressure placed on the English team by the english media to come home with the world cup contributed greatly to this humiliating farce. England DO NOT Have the right to win every game and your media should come to terms with this. Maybe there are not enough english players in your top league too!

  • Comment number 19.

    I think we now have two years to blood the foundations of a new team... This so called 'Golden Generation' is well and truly over. Young players wuth potential need to form the basis going forward.... People like perhaps Jack Wilshere, Joe Hart, Milner....

    In the background the whole make up of the English game needs to change. In Germany there is a balance that benefits both the Bundesliga and the national team. In Spain, they only play 7 a-side up til the age of 12 to teach technique... they also play Futsal to encourage player movement and to use skill to beat the man....What do we have in England.... knock it up to the big man.... Hoooooof

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm sorry Phil, but Gerrard isn't as good as you think he is, didn't play particularly well in any of the our games (he scored a good goal, then disappeared for about 180 minutes), and isn't a shadow striker. And he had a poor season with Liverpool, too. He isn't the answer (though surely he would have done better on the right wing than the left!)

    Rooney was terrible, and should have been subbed at half time. Indeed, I'd question why he was playing at all today, given how poor he'd been previously. At least Heskey got involved in the matches he started, albeit in his usually clumsy way.

    All in all, terrible.

  • Comment number 21.

    Very good blog, although I have to disagree with the player ratings and your comment that "Steven Gerrard, England's best player in South Africa." Gerrard had glimpses of brilliance but overall was very poor.

    Also Rooney was as shocking in this game as in the previous three and does not deserve the same score as the likes of Cole and Defoe. And I felt A.Cole was one of the better players through the tournament, even if he failed to really impressed.

  • Comment number 22.

    The thing that struck me about the game was how unfit, ponderous, bumbling and generally slow many of Englands players looked.

    Germany played with no fear: their young team had a point to prove. And if they'd have lost, well, most people expected that. The opposite was true for England.

    Would the 'ghost goal' have changed the game had it been allowed? I suppose England would have not been chasing and pressing the game so desperately had they been on level terms, and hence not so hideously vulnerable to a blistering German counter attack. But I still think Germany would have won.

    Encouragement? Englands U17 only a few weeks ago beat the Spanish U17 side in the European Cup final, and allegedly out-passed them. So good things could be in the pipeline for English football. These kids won't be ready for the Euros in 2012, but should just be coming into blossom when 2014 hits...

  • Comment number 23.

    Time for a major reshuffle of English football. Germany were where England are now after a disastrous Euro 2000. They had an ageing team with no youngsters coming through and hit rock bottom. But they started a total overhaul with huge investments in youth development and now, 10 years later, they have one of the brightest, most talented group of players coming through.

    England must follow that example because right now, they are in utter shambles. It's surely the end of the likes of Upson, Terry, Ferdinand, James, Heskey and Lampard. Gerrard and Ashley Cole must also come under scrutiny.

    But where are the successors? We have Adam Johnson, Rodwell and Wilkshere and that's about it. We have no full backs, no centre backs, no central midfielders who can either defend or attack. There is no creativity, no guile, no vision. And apart from Rooney (who was absolutely awful!) we have no strikers either. Doom and gloom.

  • Comment number 24.

    Far to generous with the ratings.

    James - at fault for 1st and 3rd goal, saves anybody could make - 5
    Johnson - not a lot going forward and added nothing in defence - 4
    Terry - slow, ponderous and out of position - 3
    Upson - slow, ponderous and out of poistion, but did score - 4
    Cole - ok in defence, always stopped and checked back when going forward - 4
    Milner - tried but got nowhere - 5
    Lampard - unlucky with ghost goal and free kick, but offered nothing else and was shown up by the whole of the german midfield - 5
    Barry - waste of space, why does capello think he is a lynchpin - 3
    Gerrard - wasted on the left, not comfortable there but worked hard and best player but that does not say much - 6
    Rooney - can't control a ball and offered little,especially compared to his potential - 3
    Defoe - one good run, waste of time otherwise - 4

    comprehensively outplayed by a fluid, fit and cohesive team, although they did have liabilities that we did not exploit. England played like a division 1 side. embarassing but expected because they are not challenged enough week on week and get too much benefit from the excellent foreign players in our leagues.

  • Comment number 25.

    Why Phil McNulty are you so hung up on the dirge of young players coming through the Premier league? Why bother with them? The under 17 squad won the world cup didn't they??? SO there must be SOME decent players there.
    But they wont get their chance in the Premiership, cause talented foriegn players will be bought in, enticed by the huge wages, and the 'glamour'.
    So what to do? Forget the Premier league, and draw the squad from the Championship and lower leagues, cause this is the MOST likely place the Under 17 winners will be playing in 5 years time.
    Premier league players are only commited to one team - their club. None of them give a monkeys about their country. Time to find players that do!!

  • Comment number 26.

    I've supported england unconditionally throughout our pathetic displays in this world cup but i'm really not suprised we were shown up today. We r completely over hyped, the thing that hurt the most tho was the lack of passion etc it doesnt bother me gettin beaten by a better team but we should running, pressin and playin every game like its the final. i'v had a few beers so not thinkin completely straight but i hope for euro qualifiers we go wit the under 21s at least they would play with some desire.

    also why r we the only country playing a rigid 4-4-2

    praise jesus

  • Comment number 27.

    Hmmm I wonder who these experts were who claimed this German team were one of the worst at a world cup and that England had a great chance?

    WE. ARE. NOT. GOOD. ENOUGH. That is all there is to it.

  • Comment number 28.

    "Not a single England player, with perhaps the exception of David James, enhanced their reputation in Bloemfontein. "

    Madness. James was at fault in all of the 1st 3 German goals not just the 3rd (as you noted). Failure to come early on the 1st, beaten from a very wide angle leading with his legs - and nutmegged - for the 2nd, guessing on a shot from the edge of the area and going early (the wrong way) with his eyes half-closed on the 3rd. One of our best players on the night? Madness.

  • Comment number 29.

    Phil's rating: predictable, lack of objectivity, a cheerleader, naive to believe England could go all the way. 3

  • Comment number 30.

    I think the results of both games today are frankly irrelevant as the main talking point should be not "if" technology will be used for contentious decisions in the future, but "when". As a neutral, I feel this tournament has now lost most, if not all its credibility. FIFA how now admitted there are problems with the ball, and the 2 outrageous "non" decisions today are starting to make a mockery of this tournament. It is time for Sepp Blatter to step aside for someone, who can bring football into the 21st century. How long would it have taken to make the correct decisions in both those games - maximmum 30 seconds.

  • Comment number 31.

    Lets not just put it down to a management issue. The problems clearly run much deeper and the FA should have been sorting them out since 1994. Its not Capello's fault. The players tried but they simply weren't good enough. In fact they were bad, very bad. Why are the players so lacking at this level?

    Germany have a football structure based around supporting the national team. Winter breaks, limits on foreign players, fan ownership of the clubs.

    Spain have lots of academies for young players and hundreds of UEFA qualified coaches teaching kids at school level. England don't.

    Seems the Spanish and German systems might have more going for them than the Englsih way of letting the premiership do as it pleases to make more money! Very short sighted by all parties involved really. Somebody needs to make some strong decisions about the future of English football and not cow tow to the Premiership moneymen.

  • Comment number 32.

    One word: Pathetic.

  • Comment number 33.

    Oh and I cannot believe you gave Terry a 4. At least Upson scored, but Terry was absolutely abysmal today, out of position for at least 2 of the goals.

    Pundits on BBC trying to make out that swapping sides at CB is some mystical aberration - I imagine it does make a difference, no denying that, but surely someone of Terry's 'World Class' calibre should be able to make this transition his £100k + a week at Chelsea deserves? No?

  • Comment number 34.

    Just to pick up on Gerrard. There's been a lot of pressure for Capello to play him behind Rooney.

    But, for me, Gerrard is a central midfielder in the mould of Roy Keane. He should be the heartbeat for any side. He's a grab the game by the scruff, driving midfielder. This is where I think he should play for Liverpool as well.

    As good as he is on the ball, I think he's a stand out, world class central midfielder with few equals. As a second striker, you can easily point to many as good as him or better - including many English players.

    One thing's for sure, playing him on the left, or even right of midfield, is never right when he can be such an influence from central positions.

  • Comment number 35.

    Yes goaline technology should be brought in, there is no doubt about this and i have never heard any decent arguments against it.

    However, remember 66? Good so it evens itself out.

    But England arent good enough. I have said this for years and they will continue to suffer whilst the expectations outweigh their ability. Even after the game a deluded fan on TV said England were better than Germany. Its this kind of arrogance that is your downfall.

    The football "know how" of nations such as Spain and Germany is years ahead of Engalnd. Im sorry, but Beckenbauer was right. It hurts to hear it but he is right. Grass roots in England must change or you will always be on the periphery

  • Comment number 36.

    I bet Walcott think "Thank God Campello didn't pick me for his World Cup squad. Grazie!!"

  • Comment number 37.

    We can argue all we want about the merits of the players, but as was commented on in the BBC coverage before the match in practically every position on the pitch you would have chosen the English player over the German. The English players just didn't perform and it is Capello's job to make them.

    The fact of the matter is that throughout the tournament Capello got nearly every single major decision wrong - in this match alone he chose to start with Upson, who was woefully out of his depth; our obvious weakness down the left from his insistence in playing Gerrard there was brutally exposed for two of the goals and to top it all off he introduced Heskey when we needed to score two goals. And would the introduction of the pace of Lennon or the height of Crouch not have frightened their inexperienced defence in the 2nd half, or at least added a different dimension to our game?

    In truth, you are right Phil, the team was doomed from the moment the squad was chosen - nothing new, exciting or different and yet for some reason people expected a different result. It says little then for Capello's management skills that Sven got pretty much the same bunch of players unified, playing decent football and into the quarter finals of every tournament he entered. Of course Capello can afford to be stubborn in his selection - he's got a fat pile of cash waiting for him regardless of results, and it's not like his national pride is at stake.

    In any normal business the FA board would have been sacked for incompetence long ago, and Capello must also surely pay the price for his gross misjudgements - £6 million for 30 minutes of good football in a year is surely not a price worth paying. But of course, football is far from a normal business so we shall see.

    Still, at least we didn't have to come up against the Argies - my god, it would have been a bloodbath.

  • Comment number 38.

    We all need to wake up and admit, just like Cannavaro yesterday, that England do not have enough international class players. Everyone talks about Champions League, the Premiership etc etc but none of the English contingent of these clubs ever performs at the international level. Three managers have come and gone and the same results continue. It's the players...

  • Comment number 39.

    The beautiful game is now dead and that is official. In two games today the stupidity of football's governing bodies has been exposed. A clear goal was not awarded and an obvious off-side goal was. This is in no way an excuse for the deficiences of England or of Mexico - both were well beaten in any case.

    It matters not which sides gained and which sides lost by these monumental errors of the oficials, it is the game of football that is the loser - Mr Blatter should be ashamed of himself and should resign immediately after this competition finishes.

    The luddites who think that technology is not appropriate to the speed of the modern game clearly have their head in the sand or in an even more uncomfortable place.

    Is it not time that football entered the current century?

  • Comment number 40.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 41.

    I can't help but think it's time to be more ruthless with our players. When was the last time we saw Rooney play a game and provide any great influence? Is Lampard adaptable enough to play in any position other than the one he plays at Chelsea? Is Johnson's attacking ability too much of a luxury when he can't defend? Afterall, a player is only as good as he is in a specific team. We wait for these players to come good; we say that they can't be dropped because they just need 'that one goal' and then they'll be world beaters. But is it actually just nonsense? Why can't we also try the sensible thing...why do we never try Defoe and Crouch up front, two players who know each others game and have had success? It may not seem glamorous, but surely it makes sense to try it. It's beyond me why we always try and pick the best players rather than the best team.

  • Comment number 42.

    No real analysis again.

    You can't win a football game playing 4-4-2 with no wingers (i refer to the period when Gerrard and Cole were occupying the flanks).
    Gerrard flattered to deceive again, using his now patented 'left wing outside of the right boot pass'. Barry continued to show his lack of match practice with yet another awful performance and England's world cup was summed up by the substitutes, any team with Heskey and Shaun Wright-Phillips in it deserves to lose.
    Germany, without stereotyping too much, were nothing more than efficient. No English vitriol intended but i think Argentina will tear them to pieces in the next game and yet probably concede 4 goals with 2 shots on target...
    All in all, poor world cup, poor tactics, poor team selection, farce and that was just the French...

  • Comment number 43.

    Dire performance from England. Their campaign has ended, quite rightly, with a sound beating from a far superior international team. We simply never got going, the opening 45 minutes against Slovenia was the only bright spot on an otherwise stilted effort. Phil got it right - 'lethargic'.

    No doubt a lot will be made about Lampard's disallowed goal, but frankly it doesn't mean a jot. Germany were simply more adventurous, more creative, more clinical. We did not earn the right to make the last eight.

    So where do we go from here? Capello will come under scrutiny, but he remains a top manager, losing him may just rid ourselves of one of the few gems we have left at our disposal. This so-called 'Golden Generation' are essentially finished, Germany showed today that a team of younger, even less experienced players, can be better at the highest level when they play with vigour and desire.

    The media will be blamed, as ever, but in fact the media in many nations is just as brutal and pressuring as England's journalists.

    I feel that England need to start over, to try new players and new tactics, but this takes time and could even be years before anything comes to fruition. The FA needs to step up and make the grassroots level of football better than it is now.

    As an aside, I wish Germany the very best for the rest of the tournament. I watched today's game in a foreign (Russia) bar, surrounded by about 100 Germans, and when they weren't celebrating their goals, they were polite and 'sportsmanlike' to the only English guy there (me). A few even came over at the final whistle to shake my hand. And not a single mention of schadenfreude from any of them. This obsession with clinging to the claws of history seems to be a peculiarly English one.

  • Comment number 44.

    What's wrong with the italians!!??

    They can't play football - failed to qualify the group.
    They can't be a referee - Argentina first goal is way way offside
    And they can't be a coach - Italy and England.

  • Comment number 45.

    Oh dear (again). Perhaps what we are failing to see is that no matter how good many of these players are for their clubs they cannot transfer that to international level. This takes something special. Take cricket for instance both Mark Ramprakash and Graham Hick were (are) brilliant batsmen who could take apart an attack in a county game but never quite made it at international level. It seems to me that the same could be said of this 'Golden Generation' what remains to be seen is which of those that play in this team could make that leap. Whatever the reason these players are not able to operate at an international level when the spotlight really is on them.

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    The king has no clothes. It's time to start again, as the Germans did, with youngsters. Out with the old and in with the new. We have four years...

  • Comment number 48.

    And what was the score in last year's U-20 Euro Final?



    So don't bank on a revival any time soon.

    Should have done what I said way back when McLaren was sacked & should do it NOW.


    No one can match his commitment & class.

  • Comment number 49.

    Well, of course Capello refuses to resign. After the World Cup, I think any football clubs will think twice to employ him as a coach. Even so, it won't be any close to the banker deal that our FA stupidly offered to him.

  • Comment number 50.

    It seems that the nation whose insular, ignorant look on football finally got their just desserts. For me, a sad day for England and their few respectable, knowledgeable supporters, but a brilliant day for me when I think about those ignorant, offensive beer bellied blindly patriotic hooligans.

  • Comment number 51.


    I have to disagree. I would expect A.Cole, Terry, Ferdinand, Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney to get into a Premier League starting XI, which makes up half of the team.

  • Comment number 52.

    Defoe actually made several really good runs, especially in the second half. Unfortunately they were completely ignored by Gerrard and Rooney as they seemed to think they had to do everything by themselves.

  • Comment number 53.

    "Shaun Wright-Phillips has surely failed to produce for a final time while Aaron Lennon was also a disappointment."

    Looks like not taking Walcott and Johnson cost Capello after all...but lets be honest we didn't play well at all. Rooney doesn't seem to have recovered from that ankle injury of his, our lack of pace throughout the team also seemed to have cost us, we couldn't sustain any sort of threat in all four of our matches for more than about 10 minutes, but the funniest thing about all this is that us England fans generally knew how our team was going to perform. It's the media that time and time again seem to hype up the team so much that they'll create a false sense of hope that we'll somehow win the World Cup when we simply do not have that team spirit and togetherness that other teams do.

    Our "Golden Generation" were individuals and if one of the best managers in the world struggles to mould them together as a team, then how can people expect the likes of Mourinho to do so (to be fair he's probably the only manager who could!!) But looking at the future we do have a few bright prospects, with the likes of Hart, Gary Cahill, Smalling, Wilshere, Rodwell, Gosling, Adam Johnson, Walcott, Sturridge, Welbeck ready to take on the mantle in Brazil in 2014 and hopefully here in 2018. Does the future really look that bad??

    To me it's Argentina's to lose, even though their defence may seem fallible, but their attacking strengths are so strong and their retention of the ball is something every England fan wishes we had.

  • Comment number 54.

    I would urge everyone to read the German coaches comments on the game. The Germans had spotted how to drag our defenders out of position, which explains why they looked so amateurish and Germany managed to get round them at ease.

    The tournament was a huge disappointment. Overhyped as always we struggled in a group that should have been straightforward and then with 20mins to go settled for a 1-0 against Slovenia that ultimatly led to the USA topping the group on goal difference and us facing Germany instead of Ghana. Gerrard and Lampard can't play together, everyone knows it but we let the odd game they both play well against one of the minnows convince us that they both need to play. We were told there were no untouchables in the team, but the alarming lack of form meant Rooney, Barry and Lampard kept their places despite more than one incredibly poor performance. Sadly the real lessons about why we lost today will be disguised by the disgraceful poor decision to rule out Lampards goal, when really what we should be concetrating on is our poor ball retention which yet again has seen us been beaten by one of the top sides (even if this German side isn't quite as accomplished as their more illustrous ones from the past). At the top level you cannot give the ball away as cheaply as England did today particuraly when you have so many men forward. All in all we were outclassed today by a team that had studied how we play and noticed errors that our own "experts" hadn't picked up on. Congratulations to Germany.

  • Comment number 55.

    Well Phil, I've just had a peek at the pic' above. And boy, doesn't it say more than words ever could! Cole (A), Terry, Roony and Gerrard - dejected individuals probably pondering their very (in)significance; and not unlike the French I sense these miserable components have (selfish) concerns relating to their respective international futures: not that of the international team, or, pride in waring the shirt. These players were divided by their arogance from the off-set: they weren't a team: there was no cohesion, no collective endurance - a total breakdown in tactical communication. The law of the premiership jungle appears to rule the national team. It's about time that the F.A. broke away from the pampered politics of the aforementioned, and usurped the plentyful talent on offer from other leagues; and sooner rather than later, which would give us the time to nurture that talent into a national team that will desire footballing success above that of financial...

  • Comment number 56.

    I am Scottish so bear that in mind when you read my comments. What Germany did today was simply expose what have been a quite average team for the last three years. Yes the qualification results were good, but look who the opposition was. The result against Slovenia, 1 -0 against the smallest nation in the tournament, should have prepared your nation for what happened today. Yes Capello made some ridiculous decisions, sticking with Rooney when everyone was calling for Defoe, but he remains the one player that could! have changed the direction of any match. The supporters and the media in England need to get real. The premiership does not develop the best players, most Premiership teams rely on foreign imports and you will find that in time your national side is reduced to the same level as Scotland.

  • Comment number 57.

    england were a disgrace,not one world class player in the squad,we do not have any. To many imports in the EPL.

  • Comment number 58.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    It's good to see the fickle English have the knives out!! Lets not forget that we had a succesful qualifying campaign! And after a long hard Football season,our boys are asked to dig deep and play up for the World Cup!Well we fell short!Quite frankly and quite simply we weren't in form!! France bow'd out! Italy the same,Argentina who struggled terribly to qualify! Are coming good?!? Go figure!! So lts rebuild!Hope springs eternal!!God save the Queen

  • Comment number 61.

    You write of the gruelling Premier League season and its impact on the players.

    Carlos Tevez played the same season.
    Did you see him tonight for Argentina tonight and in previous games?

    Why is he not affected then?
    And, btw, did you see the passion of the team and the bench?
    And before we hear about the pressure of expectation on the players - there is just as much pressure if not more in Spain (where I live), Argentina, Brazil etc.

  • Comment number 62.

    Some of this team have have been managed by Eriksson, McClaren and now Capello. None of them have done anything. They are hugely overrated. The only reason the likes of Lampard, Gerrard and co do anything in the Premier League is because they have the great support of some of the best foreign players. They were just dreadful in this world cup. Dreadful. None of this team have done anything under three managers. Time to stop blaming the managers, and looks at the players. Yes, the disallowed goal was a blow to England. But they didn't come out fighting. They went out with a whimper and the only thing we have to be thankful of is that Germany just held the ball towards the end rather than knock in a few more. What a waste of time and money the England team have been.

  • Comment number 63.

    Being disallowed the second goal is NOT why England early exits. It is because England failed to perform in the group stage to win the group. They could have easier games, better confidence and less brutally punished for their defend mistakes. Stop blaming the referee.

  • Comment number 64.

    I think your valuation of Frank is a bit unfair. He had, and took, our best efforts of the game.

    But the blame goes beyond the disallowed goal. We should have been playing Ghana instead, but fluffed the first two games.

    The fault for our despicable performance has to lie with Capello. When I saw the squad selected, I could not believe my eyes. Who paid who to get King, Carrick, Wright Phillips, Barry and others into the squad? Who professed he would only select those who were fit, healthy and not injured? Capello. He lied.

    The lack of young talent was a surprise, given the abundance of it in the premier league. I think the FA needs to re-evaluate how it approaches this world competition, with particular focus on the coaching and squad selection. For England's sake.

    My valuations;

    David James-5. Over the hill, should have played Hart.

    Glen Johnson-3. Overrated. So out of position today, he wasn't there.

    Ashley Cole-6. Outnumbered, but held his own. Played hard.

    John Terry-5. Looked exhausted.

    Matthew Upson-5. Despite the goal, couldn't keep up.

    James Milner-5. Plan B escaped him, and the Germans did their homework.

    Frank Lampard-7. Bad luck, no help from the others.

    Gareth Barry-2. Someone needs to tell me why he's even in the squad. No speed or intuition on the ball, less than 50% pass completion, gave away the ball causing 2 of the goals today. 2 is generous.

    Steven Gerrard-6. Led well, but his frustration with the non-performers got the better of him. Played out of position.

    Wayne Rooney-3. Should have stayed in England. Injured since December.

    Jermaine Defoe-5. Too timid. Should have scored.

    Joe Cole-3. Not fit. Sweating after 3 seconds on the pitch.

    Emile Heskey-2. Ineffectual, even when he starts. Should never have made the squad, and was a hindrance to the others during the USA game.

    Shaun Wright Phillips-3. Never could finish the ball, and exceeded his previous achievements by not even getting a touch.

    Until England decides to take the World Cup seriously, we will continue to have results such as these. It's an embarrassment. We need to cultivate young, hungry players who want to represent their country before their wallet.

  • Comment number 65.

    Player ratings seem suspect when not many got below 4. What does it take to get a zero?

    Everyone has been asking for the "Official Replay". Why continue supporting FIFA in the decision not to have it?

  • Comment number 66.

    here we go, its the coach's fault, there was disharmony in the camp, sack Capello, bring in an English coach. What total rubbish. Where was the disharmony during the qualifications, where was the poor coach then. Face it pundits and media twits, players you have built up into God's played like a poor pub team for all the games, not the odd one, but all of them. Where was the mighty Rooney, how many goals did he get, sorry how many times did he control the ball, 3?. Lampard 2 world Cups, no goals. Gerrard, in and out like a fish on the hook, he couldn't lead a poor rock band let alone an International side. John Terry, what a numpty, hero, liability off and on the pitch now, a disgrace to the shirt yet a hero to the pundits. Blame another manager, just like Taylor, Sven, McClaren, but don't face reality, top class Prem players had their precious heads up their precious arses and failed to perform like men, let alone the quality players they were supposed to be. Golden generation, rubbish, bring on the stars of the future, lets see real keeness not stiffs dominated by their wags who talk a good game but have no idea how to play one. Capello made errors yes, but compared to the rubbish he was given it was nothing

  • Comment number 67.

    I am stunned beyond belief at what I witnessed today, yes we should have had a second goal but there is no way that was the turning point of the game, Germany unlocked our defense time and time again, the final whistle was a relief because it could have been far worse, the overpaid so called "Super Stars" of the England team were dealt a harsh lesson today, who is to blame for this mess? The players? Fabio Capello and his easy to read tactics? Premier league clubs for having far too many foreign players in their squads?
    When their backs were against the wall and the team were looking to the manager for a tactical change or moment of inspiration to come from 3-1 down what did our genius of a manager do? TOOK OFF DEFOE AND BROUGHT ON HESKEY?????

  • Comment number 68.

    Congratulations on a blog almost completely devoid of opion Phil; I've read many, but this one actually prompted me to sign up and comment.

    We have the same conversations after every tournament, new manager, new players, new system, pick players for a team instead of on reputation. unfortunately all of them are valid.

    My own personal problems are: Capello insisting on playing an outdated formation that none of his players use at club level and therefore playing them out of position.

    second: since the birth of the premier league, we have undoubtedly gone backward. We produce countless "good engine" players and the second any one of them shows even slightly above average skill we start wetting ourselves with excitement. We surround them with foreign players who bring the genuine composure and class to proceedings. The big problem is that we used to produce the same type of players, but they had 10 times the desire. Now they are fat and lazy; resting on their considerable laurels. Before, a good world cup would make a big difference to an English players career, but no more, now they have global glory and riches bbeyond imagining at club level by the time they are 25.

    On this second point; cast your minds back to the much maligned John Barnes. Yes he looked lazy next to Pearce, Lineker, Butcher et al, but would we have felt the same today?

    and I've never liked John Terry!

  • Comment number 69.

    What i don´t get is if your going to pay top money for some foreign manger, why not get the best? in my opinion Jose Mourinho fits the bill.

    Just get rid of FC

  • Comment number 70.

    Well Well...England were well and truly found out today...
    A 1-0 win against a supposed (3rd division side) in Slovenia, spoken by your bias, up there own backside commentators and you were world beaters again. Sick of hearing Shearer, Redknap, Keegan & Co saying they were still going to win the world cup and they had nothing to fear from other teams.
    I dont suppose they thought for one minute that teams didnt actually fear them! The level of disrespect to the other teams competing shown by the useless pundits and British media was astounding. Anyone with a football brain new that England would be shown for what they really are...A team with no techinal ability for actually holding onto the ball and doing the basics of being able to pass. I did at least expect some passion from them but this was missing also.
    "The Golden Generation"....Your having a laugh! The only World Class players in the team are Gerrard and Rooney and the burden was too much for Rooney who i feel was burnt out from the season. I like how the English give themselves the titles of Best league in the world and Best left back in the world (Cole). Where was he tonight? I think the Portugal left back could lay claim to being one of the best as he has had a great tournament.
    Germany could have been 4-0 up after 30 mins and it looks like the 1966 goal has evened itself up. If England were the team they suppose they are, i expected the almighty come back in 2nd half but this young German side picked them off at will. Just as well they didnt play the Argies!
    I dont actually hate the England team. I just wish the media would give some humility to the other teams playing. Of course, they will put it down to England not playing well and that it wasnt that the other side were actually technically better.
    I can enjoy the world cup now without having to listen to their endless drivel of being worldbeaters, history is in their favour and that its "their time"! Good riddance....

  • Comment number 71.

    Phil, I don't disagree with your England verdict generally, but I must say that just as all the pundits were unduly euphoric after the Slovenia win, they have only too willingly torn England to shreds over this 4-1 defeat. There's not denying that the defending was abonimable, but our use of the ball in possession was better than in any of the group games. When we had it, I believed there was hope, but every time we lost it the Germans seemed to slice us apart.

    Like you, I'd have liked to see the 4-5-1 formation with Gerrard behind Rooney at some point, but I don't necessarily believe that the formation was the key issue. Though I am reluctant to blame Capello, as I certainly don't think he was responsible for the group stage displays, I do wonder whether he was tactically caught out against Germany. I mean, I have never in my life come across a German team who clearly set out to play counter attack against us. It is normally our opponents that play possession football, not us. And I think this strategy exposed some of Capello's less convincing choices in personnel. The defence was a sham and as good as Gareth Barry was in qualifying he still isn't a proper holding player.

    Terry has always lacked the pace required for international football. I've always wondered what might've been if only Woodgate and King hadn't been geriatric by their mid twenties. I think they'd have been far superior to Ferdinand and Terry, but we'll never know.

    Unlike the pundits I didn't get over excited by the win against Slovenia and went into today's game expecting to lose. If only we set our sights a bit lower, then maybe the players could exceed expectations for once, and we'd all feel a bit better.

  • Comment number 72.

    DJL1984.....Hear Hear! It'll take a generation, but it can be done!

  • Comment number 73.

    An interesting blog Phil would be to discuss the perhaps now dated 4-4-2 playing system, which was so easily defended by germany.

    On the other hand Germany were playing a 4-2-3-1-1 system ..... its no surprise that's difficult to mark against, and the players are in perfect positions for diagonal passes and small triangles.

    Some criticism should perhaps be thrown on the premier league today where the style of play all to often leads to lumping the ball up the field , its no wonder we struggle to develop players with technique and talent.

    would it be more profitable in the long run to send players like walcott and wilshere over seas to develop their game

  • Comment number 74.

    Sorry phil, how can you possibly give the ratings to the players you have given??? we took an absolute hiding, and astonishingly you gave Frank Lampard a 6 out of 10??? i think you must have been watching a different game to me, A 4 out of 10 would have been generous, but the performance was not helped by Capello playing players out of position and bringing players to a world tournament who have tried and failed on numerous occasions, but I at least expected Lampard and Gerrard to have the guts and say the would like to play in the position they do for their clubs, yet they have already stated their support for Capello, absolute cowards!! not a fan of John Terry but he is not scared to say his true feelings.

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    As the old saying goes, there is good news and there is bad news. The bad news first - England are out of the World Cup and the good news is that Glenn Johnson was yellow carded and will miss the next England match and hopefully NEVER play for England again. Where was he on Poldolski's goal? He never made one tackle of note in all 4 games, and his marking was a joke. He was a liablity. This was the player that Benitez paid 18 millions for. I think that says all we need to know about both of them.

  • Comment number 77.

    And, Phil, as I said on David Bond's page:

    Simple answer.

    We lost the plot the moment we won in 1966. That side was boring, negative & dirty, believe it or not, & set the standard for 10 years of garbage.

    We have never recovered from that & have never had the nous or desire to play football like Germany or Argentina did today. It's always better for us fans to see route one garbage up to Crouch or Heskey, rather than have people who might do something different(Bowles,Currie,Worthington,Gascoigne etc etc etc). After all, that Beckham in 2002, missed that tackle & Brazil scored, never mind the brilliance of his ball play in his prime. That's our moronic mentality & until we rid ourselves of it, we will remain 3rd rate rubbish.

    Another thing we could lose is defenders who "let you know they're there". Yep, all 4 of them let us know they were there today all right, by their total bloody incompetence from minute 1 to minute 93.

    Let's start picking footballers who can pass it accurately. Let's start NOT picking players like Gerrard who can't stick to their position or can't adapt to the role given;Christ, Capello wanted him on the left, not at GK or CH!!

    And don't forget Emile Heskey's greatest contribution-putting our captain & one fast defender out of the tournament by falling on him.

    Even my wife agrees with me about England's lack of ability or fighting spirit-I don't think they lacked guts, just like rabbits in headlights-didn't know where to go next.

    I'd personally like to see EVERY foreign star this WC throws up in the Prem. And English kids MADE to watch endless videos of them until THEY can pass like Messi, strike like Suarez or Hernandez or defend like Lahm.

    Let's start admitting we are GARBAGE & have been ever since 1966 & start playing FOOTBALL again, please.

  • Comment number 78.

    I dont even understand why does Mourinho want gerrard or lampard. they are useless. over rated & over paid.

  • Comment number 79.

    I just wrote the following on a message to FIFA.

    To: Mr Sepp Blatter

    I urge you and the other members of FIFA to re-consider the use of video replays as an option to the 4th official on decisions that affect the game.

    Thierry Henry's handball goal against Ireland
    Frank Lampard's dis-allowed goal against Germany
    Carlos Tevez's offside goal against Mexico

    That's just 3 decisions for 1 tournament without looking too deeply.

    You might say at the end of each game "oh it wouldn't have mattered in the end", but no-one knows how the players would react differently in each circumstance, had England equalised today, they may have played better afterwards and the Germans may have played poorer at 2-2, had Mexico been at 0-0 instead of 1-0 down they may have tried that bit harder to win, had Thierry Henry's goal been ruled out for handball, we may have seen a decent team in that group instead of the trash France produced.

    It's time for change, everybody watching the game on TV knows before the officials have even had a chance to discuss decisions, the 4th official can be used to quickly review the action and make the correct decision and let the referee know. It will not slow the game down at all, look at how long the referee and linesman took to come to the wrong decision in the Mexico Argentina game, that wasted more time than the 4th official would have took to watch it on TV. They use video replays in Rugby and Cricket, why does football have to remain in the dark ages?

    As a side note why do you introduce a new ball at the start of a world cup, why not introduce it after and say this is the ball we will be using in 4 years, that way it's not an unwelcome surprise to everyone, they will have 4 years to get used to the ball and you won't get any complaints about it then!


  • Comment number 80.

    big fat wallets and even bigger egos,if thats possible.Thay need to get in the real world.

  • Comment number 81.

  • Comment number 82.

    Well where to start. The disallowed goal was definitely a turning point, as though we were very poor before scoring the German confidence would have disappeared to lose a 2 goal lead, and we would have been flying. However overall, we were appalling, and to me it starts with the defence. We were tactically out-thought - when you look at both of the first 2 goals the problem is simple - that Klose and Ozil were dropping off deep, essentially leaving England's centre half's with no-one to mark. Then when Klose/Ozil got the ball in those positions, Barry was nowhere to be seen, so Terry would come tearing our of defence, leaving a huge gap behind him. Cleverly for the second the Germans had stacked up on our left side so they actually had 3 v 3 there whilst we had Barry/Lampard in the middle marking no-one. This was a huge tactical blunder as everyone knew Ozil would cause this problem and Barry needed to just sit in front of the defence. That wasn't the only problem though, until our goal we didn't play with any spirit and pace. Rooney was extremely poor, along with Barry and Terry (Upson being a novice has his excuses). The manager must take the overall responsibility, but lets face it managing England is no picnic and we did great in the qualifiers. We could really have done with Ferdinand in there today. I agree with the commentators that playing Terry on the wrong side, and bringing in Carragher and unfit Barry were with hindsight mistakes.

  • Comment number 83.

    Looks the FA management is getting more and more like the LTA.

  • Comment number 84.

    'I long campaigned for Capello to try Steven Gerrard, England's best player in South Africa, behind Rooney but he seemed set in concrete when it came to his planning and it was never given serious consideration'

    I presume it wasn't given serious consideration because Capello saw Gerrard have his worst ever season for Liverpool playing in the role you suggest he plays in for his country. Lets be honest he was lucky to be in the team at all after the season he has had not to mention his poor perfomances for England at major tournemants in the past.

    I love the English medias stance on Gerrard......he was rubbish for England at previous major tournements, that was foreign managers fault. He has just had a terrible season for Liverpool, that was the foreign managers fault. He once again fails to deliver on the big stage and guess what, it's the foreign managers fault.


    It really is time to stop balming foreign coaches or poor Steve McLaren for the constant woeful performances from so called world class players every time they pull on an England jersey. The players simply are not that good! JT for instance looks quite good when playing alongside a Portuguese defender who is one of the best defenders in the world but looks like a pub league player when not playing alongside someone of that class. The pretence has surely got to stop and its time to admit that 'the golden generation' are not so golden, its time to accept that and move on, not take the usual stance of blaming the foreign manager for the players lack of talent.

  • Comment number 85.

    Thing is we MUST change football in the Prem.Less foreigners,more english players and get better chaocing in.It was foolish not to give more money to Lg 1+2 clubs cause they DEVOLP players for the prem.Most of them english at that!.

    The FA MUST resign.Time to bring in new ideas,reduce the Prem to 18 clubs and get a grip.Bing in an english quote for the prem.Time to stand up to Man U,Arsenal,Liverpool and Chelsea.Money isn´t everything.

    As for Capello HE MUST GO.We were useless.
    But a new manager won´t change much cause the players AREN`T There!I even think for the Euros 2012 in Ukraine we might not even qualify!

  • Comment number 86.

    It is amazing how people have forgotten what happened 4 years ago, remember the poor performances at Germany 2006 - all blamed on Becks and Sven then. As in 2006, Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Terry, together with Becks and the rest of the "team" all failed then and failed this year for the same reason - collectively they are in no way a team! There is no team cohesion, no communication between players and certainly no idea of what each players role is/should be. In short, very rarely do they play truly as a "team" in every sense of the word. For example, how many times has it been said that Lampard can't partner Gerrard etc., or defenders do not provide cover for each other. However, most of this team have played in the England team since prior to the last world cup - so why can't players who have played together for 6 years or more play as team when they put on an England shirt?

    Is it a case each of them should stop believing his own press - each of them may be able to foot it at club level, but on the international stage each of them comes up wanting. So, is it time the FA and the EPL put the individual egos of "Golden Generation" where they belong once and for all...on the scrap heap of retired former English players?

  • Comment number 87.

    So they've tried foreign managers with huge reputations in European football (Sven, Capello) and even Mclaren was doing well at Middlesbrough (and showed subsequently at Twente that he's not the numpty he was made out to be by the press after his failure with England). The question is, is it really the manager's fault? Or are English players simply not good enough? Do they rely too heavily on foreign players to get the best out of them in the Premier League?
    Will changing the manager really help? Or would the millions needed to buy Capello out of his contract, and the huge amounts needed to then get someone to replace him (and you won't be wanting to downsize, quality-wise, so you would be looking at a calibre of manager like Hiddink, etc, with huge reputations and matching salary demands) not be better spent on youth development, so England have a group of players good enough - even on the left wing! - to win international tournaments?

  • Comment number 88.

    So what was all the fuss about Rooney pre worldcup? Best striker? World class my behind. 3 goals in 360 minutes of football for a so called world class team!!!!!! Ok make it 4 including Lampard's disallowed goal. Compare this to Argentina who have sailed without any major set back and yet they were supposed to be in shambles!!!!! Thank God Germany saved England from facing the Argentine machinery, it would have been a cricket score. Time for the players to stop believing the hype that the press heap upon them and realise they are not in the elite class of world football, have not been and will take long to get there. For a team that has reached ONE major final since 1966 and labelling this team as a Golden generation is pure gabbage. If the England team was a listed company and tried to convince investors to buy its stock with its record, lets just say it would have wound up by now. Look forward to Germany vs Argentina

  • Comment number 89.

    I should probably begin by stating a conflict of interest: I'm a Scotsman. I'll trust you'll bear with me however; trust me, I'm a Scotsman who supported England in their games. The Lampard goal should've stood. Basic FACT. No argument. I also can't help feel that it actually is a crucial moment of the match; had it been 2-2 at half-time then the 2nd half could have started all-square and who knows what may have occurred. The 3rd and 4th goals conceded were clearly on the break and as a result of "being behind", not pretty I concur but, as a certain Swedish turnip once said, "don't kill him, you will need him." I hope Capello doesn't resign or get sacked, the blame as much as I see it lies with the players to an extent but also the system. Going back to being Scottish; these guys by in large entertain me every Saturday night on MOTD/Champions' League, much moreso than the "spectacle" we get north of the border. I just find it staggering that these same players can't get it together. I hate to say it but England are starting to become synonymous with the Dutch of yesteryear: fantastic individuals, woeful teamplayers. Ultimately though, the system is at fault. Gerrard, Rooney, Lampard are GREAT players, along with many of the others - why can't they play together? The manager is not the problem, Ferguson couldn't solve it, nor Wegner, nor the Chosen One. We recently had an "enquiry" into our national game and, regardless of it's conclusions we have at least started to look at ourselves. Like with the Republic of Ireland undoubtedly feeling that they would've brought more to the party than the French, likewise the Scots would've brought a sense of desperate, hopeless endeavour. England should bear these things in mind, as these are the luxuries my country cannot afford; maintain your skill, play your game, but most of all, savour the moment and the shirt.

  • Comment number 90.

    'Capello shows no signs of quitting although he will hold talks with the Football Association. The question to be asked is could anyone do any better assembling a team handicapped by the rigours of a gruelling Premier League season and the shortage of outstanding young English talent?'

    People just don't get it, do they? We could find the players to make a good team (though it might take 10 years), if we change the whole way we approach the national game. If we are serious about England winning ANYTHING EVER again, we must do what the Germans have done. Ditch the old style of play (yes, kick and rush), develop players into a team, work on fitness, agility, mentality, etc. It's not the players or the 'gruelling Premiere League season', it's the system itself. It's so obvious to me I can't understand how no-one else can see it. We delude ourselves with our diatribes about 'WAGS', and 'prima-donnas' and 'long premiere league season', etc. These are just convenient excuses. They help us avoid the bigger issues and that is that we play an outdated style of football that doesn't work anymore (if it ever did). All Capello did in my view was tinker with the parts. I suppose it will take a revolution in our footballing philosphy but without it, I can promise that nothing will change in the long run. I don't know exactly how this could be done but I do know one thing - and I said this right from the start - Capello is NOT the man to lead it.

    I've been an England fan for 40 years - 40 years of hurt. If I hadn't been so hardened by England's disasters in the past, I would be more angry by what happened today. As it stands, I just feel totally and utterly humiliated. I will put my 'England supporters kit' in the cellar. Won't be needing it for a while.

  • Comment number 91.

    Phil McNulty. Only one in a litany of hypocrites achingly backtracking on their previous musings.

    Hilarious, if it weren't at my expense.

  • Comment number 92.

    Good article but I don't agree with this statement: " a team handicapped by the rigours of a gruelling Premier League season and the shortage of outstanding young English talent?"

    I don't believed they are handicapped by the premier league any more than any other league - and I don't think there is a shortage of English talent, although I can see that there might be in the future.

  • Comment number 93.

    This afternoon, in hindsight, was very predictable. After the dire group performances we were never going to improve enough to beat a half decent team.

    The obvious problem was the poor quality of the whole squad, made worse that the bulk of the first team's careers is on the downward spiral. Terry, Ferdinand, Carragher, Ashley and Joe Cole, Lampard, Gerrard and Heskey have all seen their best days. Of the remainder only Rooney is anywhere near world class and he decided not to turn up.

    As for the rest Johnson cant defend, Barry is an average premiership player at best, Milner hasn't played enough at international level yet, I may as well stop there.

    As for Capello, given all that, even my Nan could have put Gerrard behind Rooney. Other decisions were baffling, bringing Milner in when the whole of qualification had either Walcott or Lennon on the right, why change your mind like that? Why leave Adam Johnson at home when he was the only left sided midfielder in the 30 man squad? And the age old why sacrifice Gerrard on the left to accommodate Lampard.

    Hopefully there will now be some international retirements so that we can rebuild for Euro 2012 and then to WC 2014. With so many of the guaranteed get in the team players being 30, 31 or 32, it's time for them to go.

  • Comment number 94.

    I registered just to post this comment:

    Pretty rubbish analysis as usual. Does the BBC have a policy of only putting out the most banal uninsightful tosh?

    Unsurprisingly innacurate ratings, which betray your lack of understanding of the game. First off, Terry had the worst game of any player, since he was directly responsible for the first two goals. Just watch the highlights carefully again if you don't agree with me, and note how both times he rushes up towards ozil, creating the opportunities for klose and muller. Terry's only distinguishin feature is his defensive solidity, which deserted him today, although that may partly be Capello's fault in failing to counter the threat of Ozil. He was also at fault for making an aimless foray into the german box before the final german goal. Again, a poor decision.

    Secondly, it's unbelievable that Gerrard has a higher rating than Barry. It was a typical performance from him, characterised by positional indiscipline (as the halves wear on, he dirfts further inside - look at the fifa pitch diagram) and a number of speculative mishit passes (look at the stats). It's no surprise that Muller had such an impact on the game from the right hand side.

  • Comment number 95.

    The greatest mistake made by capello was leaving out walcot and johnson.

  • Comment number 96.

    Yes we were rubbish Phil, but the stats are interesting.

    We had more possession tha Germany more shots on target than Germany (the same off target), more corners than Germany and we also commited less fouls.

    The stats surprised me.

  • Comment number 97.

    James - at fault for 1st and 3rd goal, saves anybody could make


    I thought he was even more a fault for the second German goal, where Podolski shot through his legs from a very tight angle. That shot was very blockable.

  • Comment number 98.

    As a Welsh supporter who nevertheless wanted to see England progress I can perhaps offer a somewhat dispassionate perspective.

    It seemed to me that there was a collective meltdown, that no talk of the manager's failings can come close to explaining. Only in the Slovenia game did England come close to doing themselves justice - having performed so admirably in qualifying. It seems to me that the weight of expectation and history has become a millstone around the players' necks. To a Welshman it's very familiar - with every campaign starting with the refrain "Wales haven't qualified since 1958".

    To supporters of the other home nations the constant reminders of 1966 are an irritation - but for England it's increasingly becoming an insurmountable barrier.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    Just like 1998 our failure came not in todays match, but in failing to top the group.

    We could have had a much easier tie, but when Rooney went off with another knock the players, led by our 'fearless' captain, sat back, Capello urgerd them on from the sidelines but still they sat back when there was a job to do. They sat and they sat and we wasted our chance.

    I'm not saying we'd have got through but all this stuff people have been spouting about Germany being easier than Ghana is rubbish, no sane manager would have picked Germany over Ghana.

    On to your point "I long campaigned for Capello to try Steven Gerrard, England's best player in South Africa, behind Rooney but he seemed set in concrete when it came to his planning and it was never given serious consideration."

    Have you ever thought why one of the best regarded managers in the world did this? Perhaps it may have been because of Rooneys ankle injury? He's never really come back from it and hit form and it is obviously still bothering him. Asking him to lead the line alone may have been too much. And unlike Sven, Capello doesn't seem to think risking players careers is the best way forward. Not only that but what would have happened had he played 1 up front and we lost? All you'd be saying right now is that we lacked ambition and it was proved by only playing 1 up front.

    To play 1 up front and be sucessfull you need 2 good, pacey wingers who can cross a ball, and while we have plenty of pacey wingers none of them are good enough to do the job. The reasons are their and they are logically sound, you just don't seem to be interested in anything other than positioning yourself as the next manager!

    Finally where do we go from here?

    In my view the entire FA board should resign on mass. We have had failure after failure for 20 years and the anwser is allways get a new manager, get a new manager, and nothing changes. The amount of talent coming through capable of winning us a world cup next time around is not big enough, we are producing lots of bit-part squad players but no-one good enough. This needs to change.

    On top of that I'd love for the media to never, ever say before a world cup that we can win it. I've spent my whole life listening to such rubbish, it was obvious to anyone who wanted to see the signs that even with a fully fit squad we simply were not good enough, the media kept building England and Capello up on the back of results against teams who are at best, average. Capello made sure we played friendlies against teams that showed our true potential, but the media dismissed them, it seems however the friendly results were accurate

    The players are not good enough. It really is that simple.


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