It all ended, fittingly enough, with a whimper, as England's 15-run defeat to Bangladesh confirmed their earliest-ever exit from a World Cup.
Since being trounced in their opening clash against the co-hosts Australia Peter Moores' side have barely looked at the races, their only victory coming against Scotland, who have never won a World Cup fixture.
With this Friday's final match with Afghanistan now a meaningless dead rubber, here are the five key factors that contributed to England's humiliating early exit:
Anderson and Broad were shadows of their former selves
England's two foremost strike bowlers have taken 444 ODI wickets between them, but managed just seven scalps between them in almost eighty overs. Against Bangladesh Jimmy Anderson gave a tantalising indication of his potency in swinging conditions, but England's talisman has too often resembled cannon-fodder during the tournament, while Stuart Broad's bowling lacked any semblance of the pace and aggression that should have made him a handful on hard, bouncy wickets.
The selectors ignored James Tredwell
The failure of Anderson and Broad to make an impression makes England's steadfast refusal to pick Tredwell even more baffling. The 33-year-old has become the side's most consistent one-day performer in recent seasons, with a career economy rate more miserly than any other member of England's attack. The fact that Moeen Ali has been England's least expensive bowler in the tournament refutes any notion that conditions would have been ill-suited to the canny Kent off-spinner.
England failed to capitalise when they were on top
Apart from their embarrassing, freakish capitulation to New Zealand, Peter Moores' side had their moments in all their World Cup clashes, but failed to press home their advantage whenever they threatened to gain the upper hand. They allowed Australia to rebuild and post 342 after taking early wickets, stagnated after a fast start with the bat against Sri Lanka, and twice let Bangladesh off the hook to allow them to reach 275.
Cricket World Cup 2015: 10 young players to watch
Cricket World Cup 2015: 10 young players to watch
1/10 Usman Ghani, 18, Afghanistan
At just over 18 years old, Ghani is the youngest player at the tournament, but the attacking opener already has an ODI century to his name. If the Aghans are to spring a shock, much will depend on him getting them off to a good start.
2/10 Pat Cummins, 21, Australia
With his wonderful action and searing pace, Cummins burst onto the scene when he took seven wickets as an 18-year-old Test debutant against South Africa. Terrible injuries have prevented him from adding to his solitary Test cap, but now the stage is set for Cummins to re-establish himself as one of cricket's hottest talents.
3/10 Mominul Haque, 23, Bangladesh
A compact left-handed batsman, Haque will occupy the No.3 spot in the Bangladeshi batting order. He has already made 24 ODI appearances, but thus far has enjoyed more success in the longer format - in 12 Test appearances he has plundered almost 1200 runs at 63.05, with four centuries.
4/10 Jos Buttler, 24, England
One of the genuine box-office talents in the England squad, Buttler's 121 against Sri Lanka last summer was the most eye-catching innings of the season. His keeping needs work, but as a mid- to lower-order batsman he has the talent to change the course of a game in the blink of the eye.
5/10 Akshar Patel, 21, India
One of the few positives of India's disastrous recent Tri-Series with Australia and England was the consistency of Patel, who was miserly and probing with his tight left-arm spin. He enjoyed a superb 2014 IPL season with 16 wickets and an economy rate of just 6.22 for Kings XI Punjab.
6/10 George Dockrell, 22, Ireland
Despite having been a mainstay of the Ireland side since his debut in 2010, and with four county seasons at Somerset under his belt, Dockrell is still only 22. The canny spinner was named the ICC Associate Player of the Year in 2012, and he has been touted to follow Eoin Morgan into England colours.
7/10 Kane Williamson, 24, New Zealand
Williamson is the most consistent performer in a dangerous New Zealand batting line-up, his devastating recent form in all forms of cricket cementing his reputation as one of the most exciting, talented batsmen in world cricket. Having recently had his action cleared, he can now resume bowling his useful off-spin.
8/10 Ahmed Shehzad, 23, Pakistan
Despite his tender age, Shehzad boasts a wealth of experience, with over 50 ODI appearances and six centuries to his name. More of a classical, patient opener than a David Warner-esque pinch-hitter, he will lay the foundation from which Pakistan's big-hitting middle order can tee off.
9/10 Quinton de Kock, 22, South Africa
Since making his debut just after his 20th birthday, De Kock has been an aggressive, punchy performer at the top of the South African order, plundering six hundreds in just 36 matches. A tidy gloveman, who by taking over keeping duties has allowed AB De Villiers to focus on his batting, to devastating effect.
10/10 Tendai Chatara, 23, Zimbabwe
An athletic opening bowler with a curious, idiosyncratic action, Chatara takes the ball away from the right-hander at decent pace and is Zimbabwe's key strike bowler. His maiden Test five-wicket haul set up a famous victory over Pakistan in 2013.
They inexplicably kept faith with Gary Ballance
It is tempting to view players through rose-tinted spectacles when they aren't being picked, but could Alex Hales really have done any worse than Ballance? The breakout star of last summer's Test campaign was thrown into the side without any preparation to occupy the crucial number three spot, and looked horribly short of form throughout. Hales, England's best T20 player, batted well enough when finally brought in to face Bangladesh, but it was all too little, too late.
Eoin Morgan still couldn't buy a run
The England captain cut an increasingly forlorn figure as his horror run continued, managing to eke out just 90 runs in five innings at a pedestrian strike-rate of just under 65. His repeated inability to kick-start England's innings in the middle-overs left far too much responsibility on the shoulders of Jos Buttler, and piled the pressure on a quiet skipper who needs to lead from the front.
England's World Cup in numbers
12.2 - The overs it took for New Zealand to beat England's total of 123 in their second group game.
49 - The amount of runs Steven Finn went for in two overs against New Zealand.
6.00 - The combined economy-rate of England's bowlers during the tournament
9.00 - The batting average of Gary Ballance, who scored just 36 runs in four innings.
16 - The number of sixes hit by England in their five fixtures. Only Scotland have managed less.
16 - The number of sixes hit by West Indies' Chris Gayle in his 215 against Zimbabwe.
654 - total of runs scored by Australia and Sri Lanka against England
0 - The number of centuries scored by a Bangladesh batsman in a World Cup before Mahmudullah's 103 against England.
233 at 58.25 - Ireland's Ed Joyce has scored more runs in the tournament at a higher average than any England player, in one less match. Joyce used to play for England, but was axed after the 2007 World Cup.Reuse content