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British papers slam England team, coach after World Cup flop against Germany

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LONDON - British newspapers have savaged England's World Cup squad and called upon coach Fabio Capello to quit after elimination by a humiliating 4-1 defeat to Germany.

Sunday's loss in Bloemfontein was marked by a refereeing mistake that denied England's Frank Lampard a goal, sparking fresh calls for goal-line technology or video replays.

But the papers' anger was mainly directed at the players and Capello.

The Sun summed up the mood, devoting its front page to a banner headline: "You let your country down."

The back page of the mass-circulation tabloid read "Time's up Fab," and printed a photo of the players alongside the statement, "Go — and take these losers with you!"

The Daily Mail exhumed wartime references despite both teams' efforts to play down their nations' complex political history.

It mangled a famous speech by Winston Churchill to compare the players' poor performance with the spirit of British fighter pilots during the Second World War.

"If The Few had defended as badly as England we'd all be speaking German now," declared a front-page headline, adding in another "Three Lions? More like the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz."

Another Daily Mail columnist echoed the view shared by other papers with the headline: "A man of honour would resign, Capello."

The Daily Mirror headlined "FabiGo" on its back page, adding: "England are humiliated but coach calls it a good performance ... sorry Capello, you should quit in shame."

The paper was no kinder on its inside pages, sneering at Capello's salary. It led with "6 million pounds a year ... but not worth a penny. Arrogant Capello has blown it."

Having dealt with Capello, the Mirror then turned its fire on the players with a two-word headline across two pages: "Bloody shambles," saying "Forget the goal that should have been given, forget heroic failure ... this was simply pathetic."

There no respite for Capello and his men from the broadsheet papers either, with the Daily Telegraph headline reading: "Capello got it wrong and now must go."

Its report began with "Time to go, grazie and arrivederci. Why? Not just because of 4-1 but because of 4-4-2. Even when stepping over the stiffening corpse of England's World Cup campaign, Fabio Capello refused to acknowledge that his system was to blame.

"As Capello will not change his system, England must change the manager."

For the Guardian, "England are outfought and outdated in falling to worst World Cup defeat." It added: "England leave the World Cup and should take up immediate residence in a museum of football history. The tactics creaked as painfully as the veterans."

Despite the outcome, England's match against Germany drew a peak audience of 17.5 million people.

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