The Lions Forget To Roar

England suffered their heaviest ever defeat at the World Cup finals today with a shambolic performance against a German team that showed fluid movement and some fantastic slick counter-attacking play.

Rarely have we seen England defend so badly. They were sluggish, disorganised and shell-shocked. The back four were constantly out of position and exposed by simple one-twos and that holy grail that the ‘golden generation’ have never found, passing AND moving. Mesut Ozil was England’s biggest tormentor, pulling the strings from midfield with John Terry not quite sure whether he should be picking him up or not.

2-0 up before the interval Germany were cruising when they almost imploded. Matthew Upson rose to meet a Steven Gerrard cross in the 37th and grabbed a goal back for England. Germany were on the ropes. Less than 60 seconds later Frank Lampard lobbed Manuel Neuer, the ball hitting the cross bar and bouncing down inside the goal at least 2 yards over the line. Cue the celebrations. Well, almost anyway. Neither the referee nor the linesman saw the ball cross the line and the goal was never awarded. It was a ridiculous decision in such an important game and one that will no doubt see more pressure on FIFA to introduce goal line technology.

The second half saw England pressing for an equaliser without ever really creating any clear cut opportunities. As Germany soaked up the pressure, England pushed higher and higher up the pitch and were caught on the counter attack with 2 German goals. And that was that.

Despite the reports, at times England played quite well. It’s just when they were bad, they were very bad.

It’s often said before a tournament that England have no chance of winning without Wayne Rooney and despite him playing (and I use the term playing in the loosest possible sense) in all of England’s matches, never a truer word was said.

Every cloud has a silver lining though, and perhaps ours is that it’s very unlikely we’ll see Gerrard and Lampard in the same team at an International tournament again.