The four horsemen of the apocalypse, Lineker, Shearer, Hansen and Dixon, all fine footballers in their day, cast a long shadow over the proceedings in Rustenburg. England weren't good enough; everyone except Steven Gerrard was showered in thinly veiled criticism. Lennon for being unable to cross, Carragher for his lack of pace, Milner for being obviously unfit (I thought he was just useless!), Heskey for his lame attempts on goal, Wright-Philips for the same. "But we will win our next two games," offered Alan Shearer, the last voice of hope in BBC.
Over on RTE (Ireland's National Broadcaster) it, as always, was a lot less PC than the stuffier Beeb. Eamon Dunphy described the England team as "inept" and "to realize just how poor they were you had to look at their opponents. Mike Bradley was man of the match, a playmaker in midfield around a team of players with clearly defined roles. England had none of this. No playmaker, and no defined roles." Graham Sounness said he had "never seen an England team play so badly".
This morning, as Dunshauglin Town opens its eyes to a watery sunshine, the shelves of 'Tara News' are stacked with British press. "Hand of Clod" screams the 'News of the World," while the 'Sunday Mirror' goes with "Worst Howler Ever!" Robert Green is the story for the tabloids and once these fellas get the scent of blood I really fear for the lad.
The press lynching of the England team has begun. God help them if they screw up the next two matches that the English nation has now transformed into training sessions for the knockout phase. God knows they need them, but Algeria and Slovenia, no matter how inferior they may be, will see a very large chink in the armor of the English