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British newspapers condemn "inept" England

LONDON (Reuters) - 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.

"You Let Your Country Down" was the front page of the mass circulation The Sun which devoted its first nine pages to England's defeat.

The back page said "Time's Up Fab" calling for Italian Capello to resign.

Even Frank Lampard's first half "goal" that was not given despite the ball bouncing well over the line when the score was 2-1 was not held up as an excuse.

"Lampard Travesty fails to hide England defects" said the Daily Telegraph while the Daily Mail reaction was "Awful England Have No Excuse."

Despite arriving in South Africa as one of the favourites England misfired through a group containing the United States, Algeria and Slovenia and were outplayed by Germany.

"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 catastrophe, as embarrassing a defeat as this proud nations has ever know," 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 Argentinean defense -- and a roll of thunder -- (David) Beckham's red card -- is finally over," he said.

Former Liverpool and Scotland defender and now BBC pundit Alan Hansen was withering in his analysis.

"Against Algeria they were abysmal but yesterday they were four levels below that. Their performance was embarrassing."

(Writing by John Mehaffey and Martyn Herman; Editing by Michael Holden)