English team taking flak from media
By MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency
England football fans react after the World Cup match against Algeria. (REUTERS/Eddie Keogh)
CAPE TOWN, 5:30 a.m. - Dragging one's butt through an airport in the wee hours like this can be a trying experience, especially after a night of too many tasty pints and not enough good soccer.
Such is the case for dozens of England fans waiting for their flights Saturday morning, wiping the sleep from their bloodshot eyes while trying to wipe the memory of England's disappointing 0-0 draw with the much less-talented Algerians from their minds.
How would you describe that game, one particular bloke is asked by a Canadian sports columnist as they both wait to start boarding their flight?
Moribund? Effortless? Chaotic?
This chap as a better word for it. The perfect word.
That's one of the nicer labels of the England effort too.
Back home in London, the Fleet St. tabs were saying much worse things, referring to the team as "useless" and "in shambles."
"Toothless Three Lions limp to a bore draw ... and stand on brink of early exit" blared a headline in the Daily Mail.
"Cape Fear," said the inside spread of The Sun.
"Woeful England at point of no return," observed The Times.
Meanwhile, the sarcasm on the internet has reached fever pitch too
Jokes like: "Three hours of football and Robert Green is still England's top scorer."
Or: "I can't believe we only managed a draw against a rubbish team we should easily have beaten ... I'm ashamed to call myself Algerian."
Cue the yuks.
England, of course, controls its own fate. Win against Slovenia in Port Elizabeth Wednesday and it advances.
Easier said than done.
Striker Wayne Rooney apologized Saturday IGHT for taking a cheeky dig at English fans who booed the team off the field after the game.
"I am as passionate about the England team as anyone,'' Rooney said in a statement. "Last night, on reflection I said things in the heat of the moment that came out of frustration of both our performance and the result. ... For my part, I apologize for any offense caused by my actions at the end of the game."
Replied one emailer: "That apology is about as weak as his play."
FIFA promises to strengthen security measures after a fan somehow eluded officers and walked into the dressing room, where he had a couple of words with David Beckham before leaving.
Beckham said it was harmless, adding the fan was no threat.
As one British columnist penned: "When it comes to scoring, neither are the English."
Admittedly one of the most beautiful places in the world, Cape Town makes no attempt to hide its shady underbelly.
Shanty towns are sprinked for kilometres all along the highway from the airport, a scene Canadians would have a very difficult time relating to.
Shacks as far as the eye can see.Imagine your family living in a rusted tool shed.
Now imagine hundreds of these things seemingly going on and on and on.
An eye-opener for sure.
RIPPING THE REFS
After staying out of the headlines for the first few days, referees now are back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
The Americans, for one, are still seething after referee Koman Coulibaly disallowed Maurice Edu's apparent go-ahead goal against Slovenia, which would have given the U.S. a come-from-behind 3-2 victory.
FIFA refused to provide an explanation.
"We're all accustomed to the fact that, if it is an NFL playoff game and there is a call of some question, there will be a statement by the league from the referees. But FIFA operates differently," U.S. coach Bob Bradley said.
That's hardly any consolation for Bradley. Or German head coach Joachim Low, who saw referee Alberto Undiano hand out eight yellow cards and send off striker Miroslav Klose in Germany's 1-0 loss to Serbia Saturday.
Expect the focus on refs to intensify with each passing day.