It's official, South Africa was England's worst showing

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The Independent Online

Official proof, were it needed, of England's mediocrity in the World Cup has come with the news that world governing body Fifa have ranked them 13th of those sides who played in the tournament.

It was already obvious Fabio Capello's men would be rated between ninth and 16th given that they were beaten by Germany in the first knock-out stage of the competition. However, their 13th ranking is two places worse than their previous lowest mark, in 1958, when, without Duncan Edwards and Tommy Taylor following the Munich air crash, England finished 11th.

It just emphasises how far short of Capello's pre-tournament expectations England fell. When the team left for South Africa at the beginning of last month, Capello claimed his side could reach the final. In the end, it was Spain and the Netherlands who contested Sunday's showpiece in Sun City, England having long since boarded the plane back home.

The national side now must shape up in time for a Euro 2012 qualifying double-header with Bulgaria and Switzerland at the start of next month.

Bulgaria did not reach the finals in South Africa but the Swiss did, defeating Spain in their opening match but ultimately failing to progress past the group stage.

England's demise is still a mystery to many, including it seems, Sepp Blatter, who was unable to shed any light on the failure. Asked why England had performed badly, the Fifa president said: "You will have to ask the Football Association.

"England is considered as being the motherland of football, as Brazil is the heartbeat of football, but there are no small national teams any more.

"There are small countries but their national teams are very strong as football has developed."

The criteria used by Fifa for its ranking is progression, standard of opponents faced and group stage performance.

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