The goal Frank Lampard didn't score may have swung the game. England had to press and attack to at least equalize after not being granted a rightful tie, and that opened the Three Lions up to both of Germany's second-half goals.
But Germany dominated this game, winning 4-1. And Germany might well win this World Cup. And that goal probably wouldn't have saved England from this fearsome iteration of Die Mannschaft.
This Germany squad is a relentlessly creative side that can finish. Only Portugal, which poured in seven goals against woeful North Korea, has more goals in a game, and the Germans lead the entire tournament in goals with nine. The defense isn't bad, either, allowing just two goals (that counted) from the field in four games. Germany is both potent and stout, and could hoist the trophy at tournament's end, though Argentina looms for a titanic clash in the quarterfinals.
For England, it's just another disappointment. At least, for the players' sake, it comes with a built-in excuse, a hitching point for histrionics. Tabloids and pubgoers have more than enough to whine about for years to come without even blaming the team.
But the players will get their condemnation, too. The strike pair of Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey was nearly invisible as England scored just three goals. Goalkeeping errors scuttled a win against the U.S. and contributed to this flameout against Germany.
This was an English side that wasn't good enough to win its group, and not nearly good enough to beat one of the better teams in this World Cup. The round of 16 was probably a fair place for it to exit.
Germany, of course, has loftier dreams—and the talent to realize them.â†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.