The British press are all, pretty much, united:-
The England football team were appalling...
"Overpaid.....underworked......weak.......disorganised......old......tired......outclassed......outplayed....SACK THEM ALL!!"
Or words to that effect. Along with other, similar words, epithets and conclusions.
They are probably right, in the main. For whatever reason, this World Cup squad spectacularly failed to perform, individually or as a team. I certainly don't know the reasons why. Perhaps no-one, not even the players themselves know.
However, in my humble estimation, the newspapers are WRONG, in one respect:-
they are wrong in asserting that Frank Lampard's disallowed equalising goal wouldn't have made any difference; that Germany would still have won anyway and that in no WAY should the most ridiculous refereeing decision EVER be used to mitigate the circumstances of England's failure.
For the problem with THAT conclusion is that we can never know.
Perhaps England WOULD, still, have lost anyway. Perhaps Germany WOULD still have scored four goals. Or five. Or even six.
Or perhaps less.
Because if Lampard's goal, (and it WAS a goal, of course), had been allowed to stand, then the second half would have started all level at 2-2. And whilst it's no excuse for them wallowing in self-pity, perhaps with such a scoreline England may have fared much better, without having to battle a strong sense of injustice as well as a strong German attack.
Perhaps GERMANY may have faltered, knowing that despite an unforeseen and unexpected soar into the lead, England had somehow managed to level the game. Perhaps THEY would have succumbed to some pressure.
Perhaps, even if Germany DID still get a third goal, then England would have fought MUCH harder for a 3-3 equaliser, instead of crumbling in the face of a crushing 3-1 defeat.
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
What I DO know, for sure, is that Germany would have started that second half, KNOWING full well that England had levelled the game and that the officials had declined to register it. They surely must have known, and FELT that the gods were in their favour; this couldn't be anything other than their day.
Perhaps. Who knows?.
Perhaps England, having achieved parity, would have executed a more effective rearguard defence action, rather than mounting a reckless attacking formation that left them woefully exposed to the counter attack.
And what if we had held them? Extra Time? Penalties? Ah, the possibilities. Imagine the dignified welcome home they would have been afforded had they managed to end up losing, (again), on penalties!.
But I DO believe that, whilst that disallowed goal in no way could ever excuse their ineffectual and sterile performances over 4 games, England WERE robbed.
Robbed of a chance to claw back some dignity and pride. Because whilst their gifts, skills and capabilities clearly failed them, they DID, more than anything, want to do well for their country. Just because they failed miserably cannot diminish that. And I DO believe that in robbing them of that one goal, it also robbed them of much more.
For if they had managed to lose just 3-2, then they would now not be facing the endless critiques, ridicule and lambasting that is going to haunt them for the rest of their careers.