Er, surprise, surprise. Rob Smyth (whose live Blog I have enjoyed) signs off.
The pantomime villain Ronaldo wins it with an excellent penalty, to Robinson’s left, and it’s the same, same old story for England. Gerrard and Lampard took awful penalties, but there was big controvery over Jamie Carragher’s miss. Lampard and Gerrard are motionless, broken, it’s horrible and a little poignant. Rio is crying violently; fate has merked him, and it’s harsh because, quietly, he had an excellent tournament. Ultimately, however, England found their level – the quarter-finals – and all the bluster and blame and bull****, particularly over Rooney’s sending off, we will get over the next few days can’t disguise it: that dullard idiot Eriksson has trousered £4m a year to do something that you or I could have done. I’m off to drown sorrows I didn’t realise I’d have at this result. Thanks for your emails – Rob.
Now for the next act in the pantomime — the tabloids which fuelled the preposterous fantasy that England could win the Cup, turn inwards — on Eriksson, the robotic manager; on the players; on the referees; on the Portuguese manager with his absurd Evelyn Waugh moustache; and on anybody else even remotely responsible for the defeat. Except, of course themselves.
Later… I’m not terribly interested in football, and am conscious of the fact that I’m pretty ignorant about it. So when I first saw England play and thought they looked terribly pedestrian I kept my views to myself. After all, what do I know about it? But having watched the France-Brazil game tonight it really does seem extraordinary that large numbers of apparently sensible people believed that the England squad was in the same league as France or Brazil. Now that England is out, I guess we can expect lots of people coming out of the woodwork saying that they had known all along that Eriksson & Co weren’t up to scratch. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. And of course, Eriksson had a contract ensuring that, whatever happened, he would cry all the way to the bank.