WORLD CUP BLOG: England v Germany - just not good enough

In the latest edition of her World Cup blog, Hayley relives the horrors of England v Germany and reflects on the future of English football.

Sunday, June 27:

After probably the best breakfast in the world, we set off on the road to Bloemfontein, only to encounter possibly the worst road works ever in South Africa.

There must have been 100kms of road works, we were down to one lane and most of it was a gravel road, with the occassional diversion off road—so frustrating and slow.

Even thinking about it now makes my blood boil!

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Anyway, we were still on schedule time wise and at 1pm we arrived in Bloemfontein. The car parks around the stadium were clearly marked and we parked up at Grays College just a ten minute walk from the stadium.

We put our shirts on, ensured we had the tickets and headed to the stadium.

On the way we stopped for a borewors roll and a Castle (beer), and soaked up the atmosphere of fans and pre-match anticipation! 

England fans and German fans alike were drinking and eating and taking photos together!

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It was just as I had imagined it would be and I wasn’t disappointed.

Getting in to the stadium was smooth, the stewards were efficient and there were no queues.

After buying drinks and a programme we watched the team coaches arrive and then went to find our seats. 

Sat in the top block again in the corner block, we had a great view of both goals. 

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I love the start of football matches, just before kick off the anticipation of what the next 90 minutes will bring there is so much expectation ahead, of course I was confident that this would be England’s day and that we were not going to be losers again.

I was sure it was our turn to walk away with the victory and a place in the quarter finals—after all this was to be our World Cup, the best ever preparation and chance, with probably the best ever team England has had for a long time.

On every level that I anaylised the match, the players, the history, the set up etc, I was still confident and believed that it would be England who would win this match.

I believed that every player who stood there for England, proudly singing the national anthem was ready to do battle.

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Ready for the match of their lives, if there was ever a time to work hard and play your heart out—this was it. 

There is not a person alive who would under estimate the significance and importance of this fixture...and as I stood there also singing the national anthem, I fully believed that England were going to take control of this match, dominate the Germans like never before and prove our worth on the football field.

And just like one of my friends said "It was all going well until kick off". 

The Germans were outnumbered in the stadium, it was full of red and white shirts and England flags, there was no way we were going to loose.

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At 1-0 down, I said it’s fine, we will come back. Then at 2-0 nil down i was beginning to think we were in for a real beating. What was going wrong, how come we were so insignificant on the field?

Where was Rooney? I even had to ask if John Terry was on the pitch! Steven Gerrard was not the leader we know he can be.  But then we got one back!

Yeah, we were still in it...and almost as we were still celebrating THAT Lampard rocketed in goal number two!

Unbelievable, we thought, it’s turning...we are right back in it!

But then the referee said no goal!

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What? How come? The ball easily crossed the line, I saw it with my own eyes...I am sat almost in line with the goal and i watched it go in. 

I think I was more in shock that the goal had not been given than the realisation that we a goal down.

The crowd went mad, the referee chants started and I think even the Germans admitted that the ball crossed the line. 

From that point on I think I still believed England could do it, they could fight and come back from this. It would be the ultimate World cup story.

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Then the Germans started tearing the England defence apart like a child tears at candy floss, with ease and for fun. 

It became embarrassing. One after another, the Germans continued to expose holes in the defence and you would have thought we were only playing with three players they way the passed the ball and made it look so easy to score goals.

With 85 minutes on the clock, we left the stadium, I hate leaving matches early, but i was afraid I might see more German goals being scored.

England simply hadn’t turned up and the Germans had.

I dont think they even played at their best, the England team made it so easy for them I’m not sure they actually got out of first gear. 

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It was a walk in the park for them, I’m sure they expected a real fight, but we gave the game to them. 

I couldn’t knock the way the Germans played, they took advantage of a disorganised England team lacking any passion. 

Credit goes to the German team for the good football they played.

England were not robbed of a place in the quarter-finals because of a disallowed goal, they were robbed of a place because they were simply not good enough. 

They only have themselves to blame this time. 

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On this performance they showed they are not worthy of a winning the county FA cup let along the World Cup.  Maybe we just have to admit that no matter what, we just cannot produce a World Cup-winning side. 

It’s simple–we are not good enough. 

I don’t have the answers, but I was sad to see the lack of confidence in the players, no one runs at players any more, no one takes it down the flanks and takes on players, we just seem to pass it five yards and more often than not even that seems to go backwards!!

I’m not sure the football that Fabio is trying to create is what English football is about, maybe we do have to change our style to be able to compete, but I bet if you look at the football in our other leagues and not just the premiership, football is exciting, players play their hearts out they play with passion and determination, they fight to win every ball, they cover ever blade of grass, they are not afraid to  shoot, they want to score, they want the glory, they are selfish in front of goal.

I’m sure it doesnt always pay off, but I think we have lost our old style of football where we play to win and replaced it with a fear of playing and passing.  Anyway, I’m not an expert, it’s just my opinion.

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So the England team go home and so do most of the fans, another disappointment in a football tournament!

At least we were beaten by a better team and this time we have no-one else to blame other than ourselves. 

The journey that lay ahead was about five hours, but it was getting dark and the potholes in the road slowed us down. 

It was 1am when we made it back to Mafikeng we did stop for a break but even so it was another long drive and on the way back, I kept asking "Did we really just get beat 4-1?"

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I made to bed for 1.30am and 6 hours later, I was back up and on the road to Rustenburg for a final volunteer farewell gathering! 

Plus, I had to return the hire car. 

The volunteer meeting was a chance to reflect and recognise the work we all did over the past six matches.

To acknowledge that we were a part of history and that we made it happen, after all we did play our part in delivering the first ever World Cup in Africa!

In one weekend my dream had come to an end. I said goodbye to Rustenburg and the other volunteers and I watched my country depart from the tournament too. 

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I’m back in Mafikeng left to watch the remainder of the tournament on the TV, while I reflect on the journey ive had getting here, the experience of the tournament and contemplate my next move in life.