In his all-time favorite birthdays, Fabio Capello's 64th will probably rank somewhere in the low sixties as his lackluster England were held to a draw by Algeria on Friday. England was expected to hammer the African nation, but Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard set the tone for disappointing and uninspired performances. Dinosaur-loving England fan above was not amused.
The bore-draw is good news for the U.S., whose qualification to the next round is back in its own hands: a win against Algeria next Wednesday afternoon will guarantee the Americans a place in the last 16.
Post match, Fabio Capello used his broken English to cite an unusually slow pace and a general lack of spirit for the sub-par performance:
"We played a good team, but we played too slowly. We are not in a good moment. It's probably the pressure, perhaps, I think so. The players play well during the training. I don't know why it is. I want to see the spirit of the team and I didn't see it this evening."
Frustration was evident throughout the team, and assistant-to-the-assistant-manager-but-kind-of-not-doing-anything-guy David Beckham was up on his feet showing his pouty disgust on several occasions. The 64,000-capacity Cape Town Stadium was at least three quarters filled with England fans, who managed to sing above the vuvuzela drone during the game. However, at the final whistle, the fan disapproval was vocalized. As he left the pitch, Wayne Rooney turned to a camera and sneered: "Nice to see your own fans booing you."
In typically tabloid fashion, The Sun has bandied the terms "dismal" and "horror show" around their match report, while The Guardian has so far gone with a rather more reserved tone: "They still look stale and it is not immediately apparent how their appetite can be regained." Whether the rest of the media blames the players individually or the lack of freedom granted by Capello's rigid 4-4-2 formation remains to be seen.
While the U.S. breathe a sigh of relief after being cheated out of a win earlier, England can only seek solace in the fact that they're not as bad as the French.