LONDON - English media launched a scathing attack on the national team on Saturday, branding the performance in a 0-0 draw with Algeria which left their World Cup hopes in the balance as "useless" and a "shambles."
The Sun, never a publication to pull its punches, let rip with a variation of a famous Winston Churchill quotation from World War Two on its back page.
"Never in the field of World Cup conflict has so little been offered by so few to so many," thundered its headline above a photograph of England's players shuffling off the pitch after a performance in Cape Town that ruined World Cup parties across England on Friday evening.
"Roo-boo-zela blows his top" was another headline in reference to striker Wayne Rooney's rant at a pitch-side camera as he trudged off after one of his most ineffective games in an England shirt.
Rooney was heard to sarcastically say: "Nice to see your home fans boo you. That's what loyal support is."
The Manchester United striker received zero sympathy, however, from fans and media alike as England's hopes of remaining in the tournament now hinge on beating Group C leaders Slovenia next Wednesday.
"Rooney in a rage ... his team in a stew," said Matt Dickinson in The Times. "No wonder you were booed off Rooney," added a headline in The Sun.
"Toothless Three Lions limp to a bore draw ... and stand on brink of early exit" said the Daily Mail.
"Woeful England at point of no return," said The Times which used a full page photo of midfielder Frank Lampard apparently biting his nails on the front page of its sports section with a headline stating: "Be afraid. Be very afraid."
Most publications and TV pundits highlighted the fact that England's players appeared paralysed by tension and pressure throughout 90 minutes of tedium with some, including former manager Graham Taylor, suggesting all was not right in the camp.
"I honestly do feel there is something wrong in the camp because nobody was up for this game and yet you would have thought that would've been the first thing they were. Some of the body language suggests all is not well," Taylor, working for the BBC, said.
"Cape Fear" claimed The Sun's inside spread alongside a photograph of a raging coach Fabio Capello.
The Daily Telegraph's sport section was headlined "Shambles". while The Guardian's choice of words summed up the mood of the majority of people who watched England on television. "No spark, no spirit, no hope" it said.
The Daily Express simply screamed "Useless!" on its back page.comments