Here is something I knocked out on Sunday about England’s World Cup exit. I would have done more posts about the tournament but am sadly lacking in internet at the moment. And a vast knowledge of the game. But anyway….

England versus Germany on Sunday was supposed to be the fixture that did not rely on the history of the fixture. This was the start of the new generation.

1966 was for the last generation. The oldest player on the pitch yesterday in Bloemfontaine was David James. He was born in 1970, four years after England last won the World Cup.

Germany, meanwhile, have one of the youngest squads in South Africa, with an average age of 23. None of the German team played in the 2001 World Cup qualifier which saw the Englishmen pick up a staggering 5-1 victory over their fierce opponents in their own backyard.

But yesterday, all that was in the past. It History was not to play a part in yesterday’s proceedings. But then, THE INCIDENT happened.

Despite English inferiority in the first half, which saw them go two down against a fantastic German side, the England team battled on and stole a goal through a set piece.

Then, the previously anonymous Frank Lampard hit a ball from outside the area which struck the underside of the bar and went at least two yards over the line.

The keeper was beaten. Lampard reeled away in celebration. The England army was back on song. But the referee and linesman had other ideas. The ball had not crossed the line, the officials ruled.
Frank Lampard threw his hands on his head. The Barmy Army booed. At half time, David Beckham made a ball image with his hands to the referee. When David Beckham is making ball mages with his hands, you know you have done something wrong.

And suddenly, history came flooding back. The Germans have always maintained that the ball did not cross the line in 1966 to put England 3-2 up in the final that they went on to win 4-2.

All the injustices that England felt at previous World Cups also re-emerged when the ball returned to play. Diego Simeone getting Mr Beckham sent off in ’98 against Argentina; Wayne Rooney getting red-carded four years ago, much to the amusement of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and that wink; The penalties in 1990 against the Germans. All these INCIDENTS are replayed so often during the World Cup that it papers over the fact that England have never deserved to go any further in the competition.

All these INCIDENTS came back to haunt the England players at half-time. They had joined the ranks of their heroes.
They had been wronged in a World Cup. And it had come against the Germans.

It does not matter that England went out 4-1 to a masterful German side. It does not matter that England never even produced a decent performance in the four matches they played in South Africa.

In four years, all that will be remembered about South Africa 2010 is that the ball did not cross the line. It will be replayed over and over and over again. English fans will say that this time will be different.

But the cracks were there for all to see throughout the English play. Rio Ferdinand was injured days before the tournament started. When the best that is in reserve is Jamie Carragher, who has been over looked on the international stage for about ten years, things always looked bad.

The goalkeeper situation was thrown centre stage with a Robert Green bungle. This led to the 40-year-old David James returning between the goalposts.

Former captain, John Terry, spoke out against the Don after the horrendous display against Algeria. He was quickly put back in line.

Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, as well as Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe, have never linked up well together. Yet it was constantly reiterated that they were such world class players that it would be a shame to sacrifice anyone.
But look at Spain. The system is more important to Vicente Del Bosque than the star attractions. He prefers a defensive game with two holding midfielders. It does not matter that this might mean Fernando Torres starting on the bench. The coach is firmly in charge.

But why did Fabio Capello, lauded as a master tactician, persist with those two failing partnerships? Was it media pressure? Was it stubbornness? Or did he buy into the fact that quality will shine through no matter what the system?
Who put the ball in the German net? Apparently, Frank Lampard didn’t. And ultimately, that could put Mr Capello out of a job.

Oh cruel INCIDENTS. Oh cruel fate…