If a team falls in the World Cup without making a sound, was it ever really there?
England crashed out of the World Cup in disappointing fashion today, suffering its worst-ever defeat, 4-1, to Germany in the Round of 16. Though its devoted fan base has reason to cry foul after a blown call cost them the tying goal in the first half, the way its team performed for a majority of the game -- and tournament – was inexcusable.
If the World Cup was the first day of school, England was the second-grader that got pants’d. It finished 1-1-2 – the same record as the United States – and was outscored, 5-3 in four games. In all honesty, the Kiwis played better.
Youth and inexperience seemed like an apt reason to pick against Germany this tournament, although the team has advanced to quarterfinals in every World Cup since 1954. The streak continued today after a convincing win that saw first-half goals by World Cup heroes Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski and a pair of second-half strikes by Thomas Muller to put the game away.
England's Matthew Upson provided England's only (counted) goal to cut the deficit in half late in the first half. Minutes later, Frank Lampard appeared to level the match when he chipped a ball over the German keeper and under the bar. The ball rocketed downward and bounced a good yard behind the goal line, but the linesman did not see it that way and play continued.
England striker Wayne Rooney failed to score in four games after his world-class season with Manchester United. Steven Gerrard failed to ignite the team since scoring on the Americans four minutes into the tournament. The back four, led by the controversial John Terry, was picked apart by the Germans in its final game.
England will have to wait another four years. Its fans, and everyone else, now have to ponder the Three Lions' place among the world’s best after another shameful early exit.