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British press attack 'woeful' England performance

sports Updated: Jun 19, 2010 11:24 IST

British newspapers were scathing today about England's lacklustre performance in the 0-0 World Cup draw with Algeria, with striker Wayne Rooney's form causing particular concern.

Italian manager Fabio Capello was also facing some awkward questions after the embarrassing draw, which came hot on the heels of another draw, 1-1 with the United States.

"What a load of Roobish!" said the Daily Mirror, while the Guardian's verdict was: "No spark, no spirit, no hope".

"There can be no excuses, this was as bad as it gets," said the Sun, which had little sympathy for Rooney's complaint about being booed off the pitch by fans at the end of the match.

"Drab, dreary, depressing, disjointed, at times desperate and, overall, dull as ditchwater. Thanks England. No wonder you were booed off the pitch by your own fans last night," the tabloid added.

"Woeful England at point of no return" was the headline in The Times.

It said that players were "haunted by the fear that they will fail to meet" the expectations of a nation which has not won the World Cup since 1966.

"Certainly the pressure seemed to get to Wayne Rooney," the paper said. "Rooney's struggles warrant serious investigation."

It added: "There are times when playing for England must feel like a dream for Lampard, Gerrard and the rest of them but there are times... when it seems to be more like a nightmare."

The Daily Telegraph said Capello desperately needs to shake up his team to get the best out of players like Frank Lampard and a "dispirited" Rooney before the final group C game with Slovenia.

"The sooner Capello pushes Steven Gerrard up behind a front-running Rooney, the quicker England can shake off the shackles of anxiety," the paper said.

"Cape Clowns" was the Daily Mirror's verdict on the match in Cape Town.

"The reign of Fabio Capello which has promised so much for so long came close to ending in ignominy and shame last night," it said.

"Just when it mattered most, this England team appears to have stopped responding to him."