Well, it has never been exactly fun, but yesterday was the worst I can ever remember in that, in the past, even if England was being hopeless there was a kind of fury of action, however meaningless. This lacked not only fury but drive. It was a very flat battery indeed. The response of David James to a question afterward (- The manager seems to think you are still playing with too much pressure. - Does he? OK, heavy accent on does) was even more than flat. It was sullen and indifferent. That is rather extraordinary. I've never heard quite that tone before.
As to the rest, Rooney may be injured but he never looked as though he might, however impetuously, just go and challenge. Most fifty-fifty situations were lost. The passing was terrible. Gerrard really hasn't been the same since the nightclub incident, Terry since the Wayne Bridge affair. Glen Johnson was sluggish and lost. Ashley Cole hardly ever moved forward. Lampard mooched around in no-man's-land generally in a dead thirty yards of pitch between half-way line and half-way again to the penalty area. Rooney actually played behind and some way away from Heskey, who was decent in the way Heskey is but without any support. Barry was OK but clearly recovering from injury. Lennon kept cutting inside into trouble. Carragher was just about safe most of the time but is out of the next game. David James was good considering he had nothing to do.
I imagine something has happened between Capello and the team, something that hadn't happened before, that can't have happened while they were playing well. It might be that Capello has lost them. Once lost, a team can't easily be found again. The fans booed of course and Rooney was miserable about it on camera, but at least the fans were there. This little article puts it nicely - far more intelligently than any pundit has done. I don't usually link to football websites and I found it by accident. Here are three paragraphs from it. The whole is addressed to Wayne Rooney:
The fans spent a lot of money travelling to South Africa, making personal sacrifices. For many, that is their annual holiday entitlement gone. Some even gave up their jobs. Do you still understand this, Wayne? Do you understand the sacrifices made by supporters following you? Do you understand what it was like before you were paid more in a week than most of us earn in three years? Do you understand that booing you off after such a poor performance is the only way most of us - bar the guy who made it to the dressing room - get to voice our opinions?
But part of what we like about you, Wayne, is that you are still something of a rough diamond. While Gerrard and Defoe knew better than to have a go at supporters for voicing their opinion after a match, you did not. Your comments to the TV camera were really stupid, but that is what we love about you....
...Gary Neville, your Manchester United teammate, describes you as a fighter, says you are raw. That is fine with us; we will write this incident off if you prove you actually care. You and your England teammates say you do, when in front of a TV camera, but the performance against Algeria looked unmotivated. How had you become disenfranchised so quickly?
Disenfranchised is not quite the right word, but the piece puts its finger on something in a surprisingly wise and simple way. And Rooney wasn't fighting. He was standing, walking and missing tricks he'd normally find easy.
As to the team - they'll have to do it off their own backs now. It is rather horrible to watch a collapse like this, if collapse it is. But that's what it looks like.