Leading article: Down and out

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At least there could be no dispute about the result; no backbiting, no seething recriminations, no re-run of the war. England might have been better at penalties, but you have to be good enough at everything else to get the chance to be better at penalties, and they weren't. It was a dismal performance that brought England's ejection from the World Cup; the heaviest defeat ever suffered by the national side at a major tournament.

There was one mitigating circumstance: the disallowed second goal. Perhaps the referee's decision put the team out of sorts. It certainly makes a conclusive case for introducing the goal-line technology that has taken so much of the aggravation out of tennis and cricket. But really; England had ample time to put that injustice behind them and a chance to give a masterclass in overcoming adversity. In the end – actually a long time before the end – Germany were by far the better team.

Given how much the individual players are paid and the showbiz lives they lead, this is not value for money. Maybe this defeat will prompt the same sort of soul-searching that is already in train in Italy and France about the nature of the national league. Whatever transpires, it must be back to the drawing board for England and a loud blast of the vuvuzela for the victors.

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