Sunday, 27 June 2010

World Cup: England Müller'd

We've just witnessed England's worst defeat in a World Cup finals. You have to feel for their supporters in South Africa; they've spent a fortune, and for what?

The disaster isn't
the manager's fault; Italian iron-man Fabio Capello has a terrific track record. But of the four games England played, in three the players were abject. Against Slovenia, the smallest country in the tournament, they did enough - just.

But today came Germany, and a 4-1 thrashing.
The clear-eyed young Teutons took on our English lionhearts, tamed them, and extracted their teeth. Toward the end of the game some of the German squad players got a gentle run out, to rub salt into the gummy wounds.

In Britain, hundreds watching the game on television must have wondered what it was all about. The tedious countdown to the event, incessant media hype, endless pundit analysis. Never mind the merchandising campaign; but tomorrow, how many England flags will still be seen across our green and pleasant land?

And Capello's contract renewal, signed just before the World Cup? Many now question its timing, but today England's defenders made appalling schoolboy errors which Capello simply couldn't do anything about. He picked the best players available, and they failed him. Though they can perform for their clubs, at international level they are a collection of individuals rather than a team; no cohesion, no passion. Ashley Cole, Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney, Terry: who delivered?

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