Joe Cole offered the staunchest challenge to the current England regime last night, suggesting that the national side were simply not good enough to progress deep into the World Cup and hinting of problems in the camp.
Cole, whose role in South Africa has been limited to 44 minutes as a substitute in the last two games, said there were "a lot of issues", though did not specify and was reluctant to "go into tactics", as he put it. On the issue of whether the manager, Fabio Capello, should stay, Cole said: "I think that's a question for the manager. He is a great manager and we have got great players but there are issues we need to address.
"We just weren't good enough. We have to look at ourselves as a group and we weren't good enough from the start of the friendlies, the six games we've played, so it is back to the drawing board."
Opinions varied among the England players about the significance of the Frank Lampard goal which did not stand, with John Terry insistent that it "could have changed the game. If it had gone two-all we'd have come in at half-time, regrouped and gone again."
The German manager, Joachim Löw's, interpretation of the game included an acknowledgement that England had been done an injustice. "Yes, as far as I could see from the television replays, this ball was across the line. It should have been awarded and given as a goal," he said. But Löw said that he had targeted England's defence as a weakness.
"We knew that the midfielders – Gerrard and Lampard – always support the forwards and that their midfield would be open," he said. "There would be spaces. Our objective was to set Terry up with [Miroslav] Klose to force him to come out of the defence. We knew the full-backs would be very much to the side, and that would create space that we could penetrate. We could have been 3-0 up in the first half. We did penetrate them.
"We knew that we would have to try and tackle the English early on in midfield and take away any space they would have beyond midfield. We knew they might become impatient and lose their discipline. We did that successfully. Fabio Capello is very experienced and extremely knowledgeable. I bow down to him."