English commentators on Monday launched scathing attacks on their football team’s dire performance against Germany which ended the country’s World Cup hopes, as calls mounted for Fabio Capello to quit.
Newspapers saved some of their criticism for the referee in the game who disallowed an England goal that had clearly crossed the line, during the country’s heaviest ever defeat in the World Cup finals.
But this was nothing compared to the fury directed at the team for their unconvincing effort in Bloemfontein which saw them slump to a 4-1 defeat against their arch-rivals.
The Sun, which is Britain’s best-selling paper, headlined its front page with a message to the players: “You let your country down.”
“We gave football to the world. Yet since 1966, the world has stubbornly refused to give it back,” said the paper, referring to the only time England has ever won the World Cup.
“And in yesterday’s pathetic performance we miserably failed to take the game from the old enemy, Germany.”
“England coach Fabio Capello and his team of self-regarding flops have presided over a national embarrassment, one of the most comprehensive humiliations in our sporting history,” lamented the Daily Mail.
The mounting anger at England’s performance led commentators to call for what many now expect to happen — Capello to resign and make way for a fresh face to help the side get over such a severe defeat.
“England played three calamitous matches out of four, failed to score goals and defended like fools — and that’s all [Capello’s] responsibility,” said the Times.
The Italian, who has been in charge of the Three Lions since January 2008, admitted at a press conference after England’s defeat he was considering his position as coach.
Papers were also up in arms about the decision by Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda and his assistant to disallow a goal scored by England player Frank Lampard in the first half of the match, which had clearly crossed the line.
Had the referee allowed it, England would have equalised with Germany.
“The ref and his assistant were the only two people in the ground who didn’t think the ball had crossed the line,” commented the Daily Mail.
But most thought the referee’s mistake had not made much difference to the final result, as England were playing so badly.
The Sun said the disallowed goal “was no excuse for the way Fabio Capello’s toothless Three Lions were made to look like pussycats”.
“England were robbed of a goal, not the result. They deserved to lose,” said the Times.
The controversial decision did however prompt a flurry of appeals for the introduction of video goal-line technology to avoid such blunders in the future.
“Even the stubborn bunch who run Fifa must now cave in to demands for bringing technology to the game,” urged the Sun. — AFP