Reuters Soccer Blog

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England were dreadful but don’t be surprised

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People can and will talk about Frank Lampard’s wrongly-disallowed goal all day long but to concentrate on that would miss the much bigger problems that contributed to one of England’s worst-ever World Cup performances.

Claims that their players play too many games, suffer from not having a winter break and that the national team is hurt by the number of foreign players in key positions at the Premier League’s major clubs are all valid.

But the underlying issue is that England’s players, for all their superstar status at home, have rarely been good enough to challenge for a semi-final slot, let alone actually think about winning the World Cup. In this tournament they were undone by their inability to reproduce their club form as individuals or see the big picture as a team.

Coach Fabio Capello deserves his share of the blame, having promised to pick players on form but then going back on his word with spectacularly appalling results.

England defence crumble in German masterclass

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England coach Fabio Capello would do well to take a transcript copy of Germany coach Joachim Loew’s post-match press conference – because in it he would find all the simple reasons why his side were trounced 4-1 and sent packing from the World Cup on Sunday.

In it, Loew rather clinically explained to the international press sat before him that his side were instructed to target John Terry, pull him out of position and pretty much walk into the huge gaps created in England’s snail-paced central rearguard.

England v Germany not even close in the song stakes

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SOCCERTwenty-years ago I was a 13-year-old crying in my living room because Germany had knocked out England on penalties in the semi-final of the Italy 1990 World Cup.

Prior to the game a commentator had bragged, “England have certainly won in the song stakes”. He was right. England had won in the song stakes and after the penalties this other victory gave me something to cling to.

from Photographers' Blog:

Looking ahead to England vs Germany

Photographers Dylan Martinez and Kai Pfaffenbach discuss what they expect from Sunday's World Cup match between England and Germany.

If England’s footballers were matchplay golfers

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SOCCER-WORLD/It’s a strokeplay knockout golf tournament — let’s call it the World Cup of golf — and an English player is on the tee box of the 18th hole needing a birdie four to advance.

After struggling earlier in his round he has fought back to be level with his opponent but the best finisher will play Paul Lawrie and then Tony Jacklin in the next two rounds while the loser will take on Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

World Cup podcast – day 14

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Listen!

Kevin Fylan, Paul Radford, Andy Cawthorne and Felix Bate discuss a few of the forthcoming second round matches at the World Cup, including the classic Germany v England.

England melt in World Cup pressure cooker

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SOCCER-WORLD/After England treated their fans to a second excruciatingly dull World Cup performance in South Africa on Friday, those wanting answers were left with a bemused looking Fabio Capello and an irate Wayne Rooney rant to television cameras.

England 0 Algeria 0 was not what anyone had in mind for Friday’s Group C showdown in Cape Town and Three Lions’ fans certainly were not expecting to wake up to British tabloid headlines such as ‘Roo-boo-zela’ and ‘Cape Clowns’ the next morning.

Ball not to blame for goalkeeping howlers

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The standard of goalkeeping in the early stages of this World Cup has not been the best but blame cannot lie with the controversial Jabulani ball.

Keepers and even strikers have criticised the adidas ball for being too light but the makers have said it is the roundest and truest ball ever created.

Maradona gets one over on England again

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SOCCER-WORLD/Argentina and England have one of the great soccer rivalries and although they were not playing each other on Saturday Argentina still managed to score a psychological victory over their old foes.

Diego Maradona, whose “Hand of God” goal and wonderful slalom against England in 1986 are among the most iconic images of any World Cup, emerged the undoubted victor with his astonishing touchline sideshow compared to England coach Fabio Capello’s unhappy performance.

Could you just talk us through the goal, Bob….

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USA SOCCERAfter little more than four hours’ sleep, plenty of driving and the inevitable drop in adrenalin following a big game such as Saturday’s U.S. v England match, there were a few weary souls among the reporters following the United States when we headed to team HQ at Irene Farm on Sunday morning for a press conference with coach Bob Bradley and defender Steve Cherundolo.

There was no sign of jadedness from Bradley, though, who when touching upon Steven Gerrard’s fourth minute opener for England, described it in the following terms:

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