This was billed as a clash of youth v experience with the seasoned pro’s of England expected to be too strong for the talented but inexperienced Germans. However this was not how it turned out as Germany produced one of their better performances to inflict England’s worst ever World Cup Finals Defeat.
In front of a vociferous crowd of 40,510 it was the Germans whom seemed to settle best and it was no surprise when the old man of their team Miroslav Klose opened the scoring on 20 minutes. The goal was more pub football than World Cup class and came from a long punt down field, which somehow eluded the whole England defense, and when Podolski added a second things looked bleak indeed.
However to their credit England rallied and Matthew Upson partially atoned for his poor defensive performance by heading England back into the game. Then in the 39th minute a moment of controversy struck as Frank Lampard drove a powerful shot against the Cross bar which bounced down over the goal line before bouncing back out. The Referee and his assistants were probably the only people in the stadium who didn’t see it and instead of going in level at half time England were forced to come out and chase the game in the second half.
Having to push forward looking for an equaliser inevitably left England vulnerable to the counter attack and germany took full advantage of this through Thomas Muller who struck twice in 3 minutes to end any lingering hopes England had of making the Quarter Finals. Watching how clinically he took them it was hard to believe he is only 20 years old and if this crop of younger players maintain this momentum then Germany will continue to be a major force in international football for many years.
England will now begin the inquests and Cappello will no doubt come under intense scrutiny as the possibly overblown expectations have failed to materialise. No doubt the manager will be the scape goat but to be fair this England squad far from being the much touted Golden Era Team have only a few World Class players, and these mostly play for or have played for Chelsea. Until the English Premier leagues top clubs start to develop home grown talent England will continue to disappoint on the big stage.
As for Germany they have sent a big warning message to the other teams not only for this tournament but for the 2012 European Championships and although this years world Cup will probably be beyond them it would be unwise to wager too much against them.
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- England crash out of World Cup amid controversy(independent.co.uk)