What A Load Of Rubbish! : Show Me Your Cleats! - World Cup 2010 Blog What on earth is wrong with England?  The country that brought the world soccer has become a damp squib.
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What A Load Of Rubbish!

England vs. Algeria
Roberto Candia/AP

Well, I've seen some pitiful English performances before, but this one takes the biscuit.  England came into this tournament as a legitimate pick to win the tournament, now they'll be lucky to scrape into the next round.

Algeria thoroughly deserved the tie, outplaying England from beginning to end. They played with pace and flair, moving forward confidently,using the width of the field, although it has to be said they created no real goal scoring chances. England goalkeeper David James, who replaced the hapless Robert Green, was barely tested.  If nothing else, the Algerians have proven they are the best French team in the tournament--17 of its 23 man squad were born in France.

As for England, they looked hesitant and tentative.  Their passing was as crisp as a week old potato chip. All too often the ball arrived at the feet of a player standing still or was played straight to an Algerian.

Set pieces were no better. One throw-in hit the player it was intended for in the back.  England's corner-kicks were equally inept.  They could have used the injured David Beckham who was sitting on the bench in street clothes! 

On ESPN, Ian Tyler and Ali McCoist put their finger on the problem. England looked joyless. They're not having any fun. They are playing scared under the unreasonable weight of national expectations. Not a single player stood out this afternoon. Rooney was especially disappointing for a second straight game.  Is he fully fit?

England coach Fabio Capello can reputedly identify the manufacturer of a piece of Spanish ham by it's smell. Right now all his refined nostrils are sniffing is the fear of a team whose World Cup dreams may well be coming to a premature end.