Germany have secured a place in the World Cup quarter finals with a stunning victory over England at Bloemfontein.
Early goals by Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski put the Germans quickly ahead, but England appeared to mount a fightback with a header from Matthew Upson.
A disallowed goal by Frank Lampard had pundits calling for goal-line cameras before the half-time whistle. However, following their edict on the subject in March, FIFA made no mention of the refereeing error on their website’s match report.
The second half was marked by a poor English defence – David James providing the only protection against a pernicious Özil and Mueller, who combined to add two further goals with twenty minutes to spare as Germany fielded squad players and made a mockery of a disorganised opposition.
Fabio Capello may well lose his job as England coach after an abject tournament during which England looked tactically inept at times and dreadfully short of defensive cohesion and pace.
One has to wonder why Capello favoured at first an ageing Jamie Carragher and then, in the final two matches, the slow and steady Matthew Upson – both of whom have endured dreadful league campaigns this term – to the Premier League’s strong and athletic Michael Dawson who has enjoyed an entirely opposite time of things captaining Spurs to a Champions League place.
Dawson and Terry would have been able to deal far more effectively – each from his usual side of a centre-half pairing – than Upson and Terry, who both seemed to want to occupy the same space. Upson was outpaced and out-muscled for at least two goals, while Terry was out of position twice, playing on the right – rather than his usual left-hand side – of the centre-half duo.
Certainly Peter Crouch will question why he didn’t get a single minute of game time from his coach when Emille Heskey and an out-of-sorts Wayne Rooney both featured in every game without scoring a goal between them.
Capello will have to answer critics who will ask why his team selections – and squad selection – failed to back up his assertions that he “selects on form, not reputation (sic)”. Across the pitch today, we saw out of form (and out of position) England players failing to produce any sort of form, while many bright prospects watched from the bench for the fourth match in a row. Darren Bent watched the World Cup on holiday, having enjoyed a goal-filled season, and may allow himself a wry smile when he considers the goal return – or lack thereof – that came for his country in his absence.
Germany, on the other hand, have been a revelation in this World Cup – their young side has combined well with an experienced front-line to form an immensely creative and difficult to break down unit. They progress to the final eight yet again, where they will offer severe resistance to whomsoever they should face.