London: British newspapers were unsparing in their condemnation of the England soccer team after they were defeated 4-1 by Germany in the second round of the World Cup in Bloemfontein on Sunday.
"By the bedraggled and humiliating finish here, even the old standbys, the cry of injustice and the desperate grasp for the moral victory had been torn into ruins," wrote John Dillon in the Daily Express.
"The Golden Generation were in their final meltdown. The World Cup campaign had finished, as it started, as a calamity."
Matt Lawton in the Daily Mail said a disallowed England goal had not been the reason for the defeat.
"Because for all England`s frustration with going into the interval a goal down, this should not be used to hide how awful England were yesterday.
"England were a mess -- a team that were tactically and technically inept; a team that for all the quality of the individuals were so painfully inferior to their well-drilled opponents."
Writing in the Daily Star, Danny Fullbrook said manager Fabio Capello`s humiliation was complete when distraught England fans sang the name of former team boss Sven Goran Eriksson.
"England`s World Cup ended in catastophe, as embarrassing a defeat as this proud nation has ever known," he said. "And Capello has to take the blame."
In the Guardian, Richard Williams said the defeat spelled the end for the golden generation, with captain Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard unlikely to play again at a major international competition.
"So the era that began on a hot June night in France 12 years ago with a flash of lightning -- (Michael) Owen`s scamper through the Argentinian defence -- and a roll of thunder -- (David) Beckham`s red card -- is finally over," he said.