There was no happy birthday for Fabio Capello in Cape Town as england were booed by their own supporters following a dreadful performance against Algeria that leaves their World Cup hopes hanging by a thread.
Although they exerted some late pressure, if Capello’s men had denied Algeria a point it would have been a massive injustice on a night when Franz Beckenbauer’s assessment of England being a “kick and rush” team was proved to be false. They weren’t as good as that.
The maths are now quite sim- ple. Beat Slovenia - when they will be without the suspended Jamie Carragher - in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday and England have scrambled their way into the last 16. Fail and in all probability they will go home.
And, after the evidence of their 180 minutes so far since their arrival in South Africa, that is exactly what they will deserve.
Capello said yesterday he has not made any mistakes.
After watching his team hardly threaten the Algerian goal, if he still feels that way, his bunch of players truly are woeful.
Because all the altitude training, and all the preparations at their Rustenburg hideaway have delivered a paucity of performance that is almost too bad to be believed.
Against a side ranked 30th in the world, and from a continent that has never beaten England, in front of Prince William, the Three Lions were supposed to deliver a performance fit for a king.
How wrong that assumption was. England were clueless.
Every time they got hold of the ball, it seemed they were in a rush to get rid of it, or at least try to force something to happen, which ultimately amounted to the same thing.
For the first hour Algeria were the more inventive side. They were quicker, slicker, possessed greater imagination and incisive movement. In short, they were superior in all the technical aspects of the game.
England lacked guile. We were embarrassing at times.