Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

England Flat as Table Mountain

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

England Flat as Table Mountain

Article excerpt

FRUSTRATED: IT'S win or bust now for England in South Africa following an insipid goalless draw with Algeria.

Fabio Capello's men were booed off by a section of their own supporters in Cape Town after a dreadful performance.

The sums are now quite simple. Beat Slovenia 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.

Having told the world he would not confirm the identity of his chosen goalkeeper until two hours before kick-off, it transpired Capello's mind had been made up by the final training session last night.

A couple of mistakes from Rob Green were enough to convince Capello the West Ham man could not be trusted, so David James was in for his first competitive start in 15 months.

It was supposed to be a watching brief for the man who stood between the sticks. 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's lack of guile was embarrassing at times. It took Capello's men until three minutes before the break to retain possession for any decent period.

Every time they got hold of the ball, it seemed England 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.

Wayne Rooney did not appear fit. He certainly endured a frustrating time of it.

Penalised after two muscular tangles, England's talisman eventually managed a shot when the opening period was in its death throes. Like so many England efforts, it was struck from the edge of the area and posed little threat.

The best chance fell Frank Lampard's way after Aaron Lennon's cross had been half-cleared by Rafik Halliche but it was saved. …

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