English campaign a complete disaster

GARETH WHEELER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:27 PM ET

"England's Going Home" -- the line sung many a time by German supporters during and after a 4-1 thrashing of the Three Lions.

England's just not going home; they're returning to the homeland with their tails tucked between their legs.

This English team won't be flying coach, but maybe it's their actual coach who shouldn't be making a return to the country.

Fabio Capello's uninspired tactics and likewise squad selection leaves many questions for the short and long-term futures of the English National team.

The fact England wasn't good enough in South Africa was plain to see.

What isn't so clear is why.

How do players of the quality of Gerrard, Rooney and Terry come out so flat?

Perhaps this team that was so good in qualifying really did start reeling after John Terry's personal indiscretions lead to him being stripped of his captaincy. Taking a backseat role is never easy for a player of his calibre. Calling out Capello last week suggests he was frustrated.

And perhaps the extra pressure put on Steven Gerrard when he assumed the captaincy played a part in his own poor performance.

Truth be told, Gerrard had a miserable campaign at Liverpool this past season anyway, and captain or not, was on poor form.

As for Wayne Rooney, fitness was clearly an issue. Capello's inability to partner him with a suitable strike partner, or find a way to make him more influential, is also to blame.

Rooney is England's best player, a true game-breaker, and he was rendered to chasing down balls. That is unacceptable.

Capello's lazy tactics are just part of that. The players deputized didn't get the job done either.

James Milner was in over his head. His distribution was terrible and the team suffered. Gerrard refused to stay wide, constantly drifting in the middle, cutting down Frank Lampard's space to operate and leaving the wing susceptible defensively.

Gareth Barry, coming back from injury, was slow, unfit and unable to contain or distribute appropriately.

And if Barry was slow, the defensive back four was lethargic. Fifth choice centre-back Matthew Upson had no reason to be on the pitch other than necessity. And neither Glen Johnson nor Ashley Cole could get up the wings in attack with any regularity nor defend their positions adequately.

That leaves Terry, who lacked the passion and determination he has with his club team Chelsea. The case can be made he was left exposed not having a decent centre-back partner.

Upfront, contrary to Capello's belief, Emile Heskey was never the answer and Jermain Defoe has never made a lasting impact with England.

Heck, it would have been decent to see what the size of Peter Crouch could do, but most likely he was just another piece of a broken puzzle.

It sounds crazy to say, but England could have used David Beckham and his superior passing ability. At the very least, he can deliver a decent cross or two. The same cannot be said of his replacements.

I could go on with the roster of players not good enough. More compelling is Germany's ability to re-invent themselves to play a modern, positive brand.

Nine players on the current team are disciples of the German U-21 UEFA Championship side in 2009.

Thomas Mueller, Mesut Ozil, and Sami Khedira headline a new breed of talented, innovative players. Players like Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Poldolski are the biggest beneficiaries. They were always very talented, but now you're able to see their talent shine in a system moving away from the bland, methodical approach of yesteryear.

For England, where is this similar injection of youth? Capello left Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Adam Johnson, and Theo Walcott at home. But there's good reason to question whether any are good enough anyway.

England still struggles to develop high quality internationals at vital positions. It's the same problem as Italy now has -- a massive foreign influx into their domestic league that limits opportunity. Inter Milan may have one Champions League, but the roster is dominated by Argentines and Brazilians while the Italians are nailed to the bench.

Italy has been taking serious heat for their South Africa adventure, but I dare to say England's was even worse.

Regardless, Capello should have gotten much more out of what he had at his disposal. Once a beacon of hope, the Italian will be compared to Sven Goran Ericsson, another high-priced import unable to get results.

If Capello couldn't win with this group of Millionaires, what will he do with the upcoming lost generation? The cupboards look pretty bare.

Chances are the Godfather of English soccer may very well lose his job completely.


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