BLOEMFONTEIN: Humiliated England fans let rip at their team, manager and the referee after being dumped out of the World Cup Sunday as Germans savoured their rivals` pain over a disallowed goal after nursing a 44-year grudge.
Many of the fans who had paid a small fortune to travel to South Africa said Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda`s decision not to award a goal after a Frank Lampard`s shot cannoned off a bar and over the line was the game changer.
But rather than wallow in self pity, they acknowledged that England`s flaws had been brutally exposed by Germany in the 4-1 victory, their biggest victory over their old rivals.
"It would have been different if they had allowed the goal but we were weak all over the place," said James Furge, from Shropshire in central England.
"Some of the players looked tired. Look at (Wayne) Rooney. He scored 34 times last season for (Manchester) United but he hasn`t been close to scoring in the four games here."
Furge said that England coach Fabio Capello had to shoulder to blame for the team`s lacklustre display during the tournament but said there was no obvious replacement for the Italian.
"None of the guys mentioned have the European experience that we need."
Paul Jones, from Liverpool, said Capello had to pay the price for getting the tactics so wrong.
"You`ve got to blame the manager. Tactically he has been naive. He`s stuck to 4-4-2 since the first game and it hasn`t worked.
"Rooney has been playing off a striker when at United he plays on his own up front."
William Steel, an 18-year-old from Ipswich in eastern England, said the entire defence had let themselves down.
"We were okay up front but the defence was appalling," said Steel, dressed in a pair of trousers made up of quilted England flags.
The decision to award the goal, when Germany were only 2-1 in front, provoked fresh debate about whether television technology should be used and evoked memories of the 1966 World Cup final when a disputed Geoff Hurst goal helped England to a 4-2 win.
"We were sitting by the goal line and you could it was definitely a goal," said Steel.
Adam Wilkinson, from Coventry, said the officials` error showed that the case for using TV replays in decision-making was unanswerable.
"It was definitely over the line and changed the game. They have video replays in rugby and tennis so why not football."
German supporters however savoured not only the victory but also the controversy over the goal.
"It was revenge for `66 and it was great," said George Boesing, who lives near the German border with the Netherlands. "The English were just not good enough."
Germans may be criticised by the English for a perceived lack of humour but they had the last laugh, serenading their rivals with a variation of a fans` favourite, singing: "They`re going home, they`re going home, England`s going home."
BDST: 2323hrs, June 27, 2010