BLOEMFONTEIN -- It took 44 years but the scales of justice may have finally been balanced.
This time, it was Germany that benefited.
A first half goal by Frank Lampard that was missed by the Uruguayan officials played a key role in Germany's 4-1 humiliation of England in the round of 16 Sunday aft Free State Stadium. The result sent one of the pre-tournament favourites home and another on to the quarter-finals.
The incident was eerily similar to the 1966 World Cup final between these teams in England.
Essentially, they relived one of the most controversial moments in football history, known in the soccer world as 'The Ghost Goal.'
In extra time in that final 44 years ago, England's Geoff Hurst rocketed a shot off the underside of the crossbar. It dropped on the goal line but the Soviet linesman declared it a goal, giving England a 3-2 lead in a game it eventually won 4-2.
On Sunday, Germany dominated the game early, taking a 2-0 lead before England managed to draw to within one.
Moments after England scored, Lampard floated a shot past German keeper Manuel Neuer. It bounced off the underside of the crossbar and dropped two feet inside the net before bouncing out.
Neither referee Jorge Larrionda nor his assistants saw it.
No doubt the incorrect call will reignite the argument over instant replay, something FIFA in its stubbornness refuses to implement.
English manager Fabio Capello felt the incident changed the game. Whenever he was asked about why his team played so poorly, he kept referring to the non-goal.
“We played well at 2-1, and if it was a draw that would have been very important for us,” Capello said. “We can then play a different style, instead of counter-attacking. I cannot understand why we can't have a fifth referee watching this game, why we have to talk about things like this.”
Capello hoped he would be talking about something different, not having to continue to talk about English failure at the World Cup.
"I think we have the players to win the World Cup," Capello said.
England certainly didn’t show it.
Capello did credit the Germans for playing a good game. It was a bit of an understatement.
Other than the last 10 minutes of the first half, the Germans were brilliant.
Their young midfield of Mesut Oezil and Thomas Mueller constantly blew by leadfooted English defenders. Even 32-year-old Miroslav Klose outran John Terry and outmuscled Matt Upson for the first goal.
Lukas Podloski scored the second before Upson redeemed himself somewhat by scoring on a header to make it 2-1.
In the second half, England pushed forward but committed the cardinal sin of giving up the ball cheaply and watching the Germans counter.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Oezil set up Mueller for the two killing goals.
"Germany are a fantastic team and they deserved their win. We'll go away and have a think about what went wrong and why we didn't progress further in the tournament," said captain Steven Gerrard.
Now that England has crashed out of the tournament, speculation over what will happen to Capello is sure to begin. He just signed a two-year contract extension that runs through 2012.
He was asked if he planned to resign.
"I will not resign," he said.
But the decision may not be in his hands.
"I have time to decide (about my future). I have to speak with the (Football Association) chairman," he said. "We have to wait until we come back to London. I want to see if he still has confidence in me."
Previous England managers who have failed in major tournaments have gotten the axe but there is a general feeling that Capello's job is safe.
But he may have to do a little tap-dancing to explain why England failed yet again.