June 28th, 2010
11:16 PM ET

Armchair Diaries: England are out, hoorah!

Matt Booth’s England shirts find a new home – a trash can in Hong Kong (CNN)
Matt Booth’s England shirts find a new home – a trash can in Hong Kong (CNN)

Editor’s note: CNN Hong Kong Operations Supervisor and England fan Matthew Booth will attempt to watch every match of the World Cup on television in the wee small hours of the night. Can he do it without being fired/divorced/committed to an asylum? Follow his updates here, as he becomes more and more incoherent from extreme sleep deprivation.

Hong Kong, China - Despite wearing my lucky underwear, sitting in the correct position on the couch and the deals I made at half time with various creatures from the underworld, there was nothing that could be done to fight the future that Paul the English octopus had already predicted at a German zoo.

The English are out of the World Cup.

They were soundly beaten, humbled and are on their way back home, leaving the rest of the footballing world wondering what all the fuss was about.

It turns out football isn't coming home - and may not even write a postcard.

 For me there was absolutely no hiding from the result. The morning after the match, I directed two hours of our Asian morning shows which had video of the German goals in the show opener, in the headlines, in the sport updates and in the segment teases. I think at one point they rolled the tape in the weather segment just to mess with me.

In our main control room, where I was chained to a chair with eyelid clamps firmly in place for two hours, we had various Asian news networks in monitors around the room. Every time I glanced away from CNN game highlights, Frank Lampard would be beaming down from one of the screens, looking like someone stole his ice cream; or there would be some Bangladeshi pundit explaining that if Capello had played Rooney as a lone striker all would have been well.

Much like watching England against Algeria it was utter torture.

But now it’s over.

I’ve finished work, I’ve gone home, eaten some mini carrots and I’m already eyeing the fixture list like it’s a juicy steak covered in chocolate sauce and truffles.

I'm free.

I can consign my over-priced England replica shirt to the bin. I can stop reading endless articles on English newspaper websites that all say the same thing. I can stop defending comically inept England performances to my Australian colleagues. And I can stop monitoring FA-TV for meaningless interviews with England squad members (“Peter Crouch, who’s the best darts player?” - I mean really.)

I can give up the pathetic navel gazing that went along the lines of: “Well we were QUITE good against Slovenia for 20 minutes, maybe they’ll let us win the World Cup?”

Rubbish! England had a dreadful tournament and we deserve to go home.

I’m not even very interested in the Lampard phantom goal controversy. After “the goal that wasn’t” instantly burned itself into the lexicon of English footballing misfortunes, England had more than 50 minutes of football to find an equaliser, yet their dubious efforts only contrived to double Germany’s advantage.

As German keeper Neuer snatched the ball after watching it bounce off the crossbar and over the line, his expression seemed to say: “Goal? Goodness me no, there’s no goal here. Look! Over there! A three-headed monkey! Is that the time? I must dash…”

It was harsh, but that’s football.

Now the agony is over and at long last I can join the growing legions of neutrals who can savor the excellence of a team, offering their admiration and support without the obligation of nationality.

Viva Espana! Deutschland Vor! Vamos Argentina!

May the best team delight me.


Diet colas drunk: 94

Mini carrots eaten: 5.6 kgs

Mini salami sticks munched: 120

Mini salami sticks fed to dog: 12

soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. dantheman

    I am sorry but you know absolutely nothing about football. Good for 20 mins against Slovenia? we dominated the match mate. were humbled, yes because we were countered on both of the second half goals. How can you not be bothered about the disallowed goal? If we had gone in 2-2 at half time then we may have had a chance but in the second half we had to go for it 100% and that allowed us to be countered. Absolutely pathetic article.

    June 29, 2010 at 12:49 am | Reply
  2. Erick Torres

    I am from Mexico. I am still hurt for the defeat to Argentina, and because Mexico always has bad luck with referees too. However I also think that since they are professional players they shouldn't let one single goal to overcome them.

    Now, I am just watching matches from a neutral perspective. Sometimes I pick a favorite, but I don't mind if they lose, specially if they didn't deserve to win.

    June 29, 2010 at 2:00 am | Reply
  3. Ronin

    Awesome. Just before the World Cup began, I watched this program on BBC, World Cup's 50 Most Shocking Moments, with Richard Bacon and Peter Crouch; I got to say I'm looking forward to the new version. The way they comment about the games and the plays, the interviews, all that ad up to an hilarious result.

    June 29, 2010 at 2:18 am | Reply
  4. Mark

    Is it an Extra Large? I'll take it and pay the postage.

    June 29, 2010 at 2:39 am | Reply
  5. Nina

    let's face it the other teams which have qualified so far in the next round have been consistent and played better football. England is just overrated and the team needs an overhaul. Sorry England fans, the truth hurts!

    June 29, 2010 at 4:37 am | Reply
  6. BSTeh, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

    The English should figure out what they keep doing not right and watch all the games involving other European teams like Germany, Spain, The Netherlands as these teams seem to be holding their own against the onslaught of the Americas.

    Better still also watch what the South Americans are doing and doing so well. All of them are playing attractive football – accurate short passing, strong defence and incisive attacks and spectacular goals to boot! Between the two of them, Brazil and Argentina let in an astonishing 3 but putting away a miserly 18 in reaching the last 16. So we can expect more goals perhaps and the gulf between football and just trying widens further.

    June 29, 2010 at 5:21 am | Reply
  7. Mike

    Bad ball, bad referees, bad coach and media that crucify every decision maker, what a World Cup.
    England had no chance to meet expectations from the start.

    If we want to win the Euro's in 2012, we need to have Brian Clough type management (English bulldog, I don't care what you think Lancaster Gate), We need to go with a shorter season in 2012 and give the manager the players for at least a month before any tournament to avoid injury and prepare the team.

    June 29, 2010 at 5:34 am | Reply
  8. Katie

    I am still upset since Lampard's disallowed goal, doubt if the ref. did it on purpose. I suggest the FIFA should use TV replay as a third judge.

    June 29, 2010 at 6:01 am | Reply
  9. Patrick in Cape Town

    Thanks Matthew for a brilliant article; very funny.

    Dantheman – get a sense of humor. Plus, if England were so good against Slovenia (a nation of just 2 million people...), why only a 1-0 victory?

    June 29, 2010 at 6:34 am | Reply
  10. Sujeet

    Although I am not English and I know England is not the best team, I wanted England to win against the Germans. But they were simply demolished by the German players' pace and skill.

    June 29, 2010 at 8:14 am | Reply
  11. vusa

    hello how you

    June 29, 2010 at 8:20 am | Reply
  12. AJ

    just to let you all know that ref is currently under police protection. it was a goal and he knows it.

    June 29, 2010 at 8:26 am | Reply
  13. The Guvnor

    Great Article Matthew, I have enjoyed every post.

    I agree with ‘Patrick in Cape Town’ Dantheman obviously misunderstood the entire pretence of the article.

    Anyway, Germany were the better team. end of.

    June 29, 2010 at 9:08 am | Reply
  14. Michael

    sad to see the English game ...
    we hope for the next event, the England can play better
    Bravo England...


    June 29, 2010 at 9:25 am | Reply
  15. Jo Young

    General opinion in England is that they're an embarrassingly rubbish football team, that (as you rightly pointed out) 1 disallowed goal does not a travesty of justice make when the final score was 4-1, and that this current batch of greedy, fat and overpaid chancers should be put out to pasture and a whole new approach be found to international games. Too much money in the British game? Probably.
    Anyway, as far as the English are concerned, the truth doesn't, in fact, hurt: it's been acknowledged and accepted.
    120 mini salami sticks? Do you mean those Pepperami things? That's seriously worrying. Stop immediately.

    June 29, 2010 at 9:40 am | Reply
  16. phorussed

    I'm not even sure England was good for a fully 20 minutes against Slovenia... I'd make it 15 at the most.

    June 29, 2010 at 9:47 am | Reply
  17. bambam

    The England team sucks when compared to the other teams that got into the last 16. The team is made up of very expensive players. So what is the conclusion here? Are the players all over-marketed,over-hyped and overpaid? Or did England have a lousy coach? Or both?
    Well, I don't give a shit what the answer is. That is for the English football fraternity to figure out. I am happy to just watch the better teams play.

    June 29, 2010 at 10:12 am | Reply
  18. Clive Hill

    I agree completely. Whatever tournament we are in, I am always glad when England go out. I can watch the football unemotionally.

    Except that there's a kind of recurring injustice which is unique to football. There is a difference between the cynical and the others in football which sometimes engages the emotions anyway. Japan and South Korea used to be the innocents, I notice they've adapted to the prevailing cynicism now, to a limited degree at least.

    I was saying to someone here in England who is German in origin – I would like to see Germany beat Argentina. Unfortunately, Argentina will probably win if they keep all 11 players on the field. The natural inclination of the Argentine defenders when players like Podolski and Mueller hurtle past them for the second time will be to cripple them. That's the way it is.

    June 29, 2010 at 10:19 am | Reply
  19. Ying Yang

    England has no foundation of good English footballers and coaches to compete at world level anymore. The so-called English Premier League is anything but English, as the teams in the league are dominated by non-English players, and there are almost no more English coaches in the EPL teams. England has to hire a coach that barely spoke any English. I wonder how well that can work out for coach-players communication! And the players are more concerned about their performance for the clubs, where they are paid obscene sums, than about their performance for the national team. By the time the World Cup matches come around, the players are all broken and out of shape.

    June 29, 2010 at 10:20 am | Reply
  20. Eveth

    Watching the English play makes all of us wonder the transformation of these players who play so well in EPL but totally fail in the WC; Sorry England supporters even if the 2nd goal was allowed they still manage to lose by 4-2, accept it the Germans were the better team by any standards.

    June 29, 2010 at 10:24 am | Reply
  21. charlie64

    The English team lost because they forgot the basics.... no amount of whining can override that.... they were out paced and outgunned by the Germans coz they had not trained enough in speed; the defense looked like a lost babe in the woods, had no clue whether they were coming or going....and as for the 'strike force' less said the better.....
    p.s. if they had the United midfield feeding Ronney, at least he would have scored, rather than look like he was under some kinda permanent trance

    June 29, 2010 at 10:33 am | Reply
  22. Sachiko

    England deserved to go home earlier in fact! What a shoddy performance the whole tournament through. I just can't believe die hard fans are convinced that a 2-2 scoreline at halftime would have changed the outcome of the game with Germany.

    A shame, an utter shame. On the other hand, for those supporting GER, a game, a brilliant game!

    Now my biggest worry is.. what will life be like after July 11th?!

    June 29, 2010 at 10:46 am | Reply
  23. the lawyer


    A soccer ball shot at more then 100kmh CAN 'T get out of the goal after being inside
    that's what happen on the english goal refused by "mistake" against germany


    the ball comes back and touch the tube again!!!!

    as always they use high tech magnets to control the ball shots



    June 29, 2010 at 11:07 am | Reply
  24. Mischpoke

    The Guvnor wrote: "Anyway, Germany were the better team. end of."

    Which game you were talking about??

    June 29, 2010 at 11:53 am | Reply
  25. cindarella

    dantheman, so you think because of the disallowed goal you could have proven any better. England has players but not a team and were beaten by a better side so please stop with the excuses. that's all that you and your press are about, nothing to give but a lot of fuss.

    June 29, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  26. cindarella

    l love the EPL because it's very exciting. the English should not think because they have a better league makes them have better players. the league is made up of players from the rest of the world and that of coaches too. they crushing out is a sign for them to quit with the noise and keep the crap to themselves. we heard too many 'this and that' about the English team and after the group stages, l realized they have nothing to write home about, and that was proven by the Germans.

    June 29, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  27. KSS

    What??? no mention of Ghana. You know they are winning this cup don't you?? At least we hope so!

    June 29, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  28. hectoras

    Dear dantheman,

    I think YOU are the one who does not know ANYTHING about soccer....are you watching this years worldcup? may be you are talking about another game...or another team maybe?

    June 29, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Reply
  29. Martijn Koldijk

    Join the orange revolution...

    Robben goes in, scores, Robben goes out...


    June 29, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Reply
  30. andrew dunne

    WOW why on earth are you paying this idiot to write an article. Good for 20 min agaist slovenia we dominated match they just thought a 1-0 loss would send them through and played a 10-0-0
    Now the GErmany game. lampards goal now we are at 2-2 and guess what england would not be throughing people into the bow to score. Now lets think how did Germany get goal 3 and 4. Hum they counter attacked because england was puching foward because they needed to score. Now lets think would England have only left Ashley Cole back there if it was 2-2 of course not. So anyone who beleive that non call didn't change the game is an idiot. England did not get crushed they got cheated and beat on 2 fast breaks.

    June 29, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  31. pete

    England can't play as a team, their defense was shocking, the game against Germany proved that as England let the German attack have all the space they could have wanted and could not get back in position and defend on multiple counter attacks. Nothing is owed to the English side, the ref made the wrong call for Lampard's goal, had that been allowed the dynamic of the game may have changed but even so, bad referee calls are part of the game and you need to get on with match. The England squad are entirely over-rated, far too much pride and big talk and nothing to back it up with. Oldest squad at the world cup and whats with the foreign managers, Sven proved foreign managers weren't the answer already. Same thing happens at every international England match -> hype hype hype, disaster. Maybe they could learn from this and realize they aren't God's and that there are far better individual players and far better international teams out there. No apologies in advance to anyone this had offended, reality bites.

    June 30, 2010 at 4:21 am | Reply
  32. Monyet

    Andrew Dunne – Since Slovenia were apparently only playing with 10 men (10-0-0) 1-0 becomes an even more embarrassing result doesn't it...
    Yes, the disallowed goal may have change the result, we may have beaten Germany since we were 'throughing' (?) players forward (although I highly doubt it) and I continue to shout for video replays from the rooftops, but don't ANYONE make excuses for our world cup team who's tournament was a total shambles!
    And to say we were just beaten by 2 fast breaks?! Whether you concede from a set-piece, penalty, counter attack or whatever, a goal's a goal, and good teams don't let nearly as many of them in as we do! Other teams practice the ancient art of 'defending'.
    I look forward to your ill-lettered reply...

    June 30, 2010 at 4:59 am | Reply
  33. Lebo (Johannesburg)

    One scripture sums up the demolition of the English team: Proverbs 16:18: "Pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall."
    Need I say more....

    June 30, 2010 at 7:58 am | Reply
  34. Dubandlela

    England does not have good players period, they have not beaten any strong teams for a long time. I was at the stadium during their game against USA, very poor perfomance they were lucky to qualify to last 16. The fact that English League is perceived to be the best doesnt mean that English players are good, that league is flooded with foreigners to the point that at one stage Arsenal played one of their game with non english players.

    I am glad they lost early in the competion and their media can focus on what they do best, find any fault about South African in the meantime we will continue hosting one of the best World Cups ever..ohh I forgot to mention Rooney didnt score a single goal, eish!!

    June 30, 2010 at 9:07 am | Reply
  35. DutchNLPride

    the England team and players are so overrated ...
    England played 3 very bad games they only had like 20 mins of good play against Germany and that was it
    Look at my team Holland we have not played very well yet but atleast we win our games ..and Brazil is going home on Friday aswell just you watch :D...Hup Holland Hup

    June 30, 2010 at 9:53 am | Reply
  36. Carmen

    While I understand the outrage about THE GOAL, that wasn't given..... I don't understand how the entire game seems to get overlooked by some bitter fans. Yes, it was unfair. No, WE didn't cheat. The referee made a mistake. I expected much more from the highly praised (by the British media) English team. Rooney? Rooney? I watched the English games. And again, this man was hyped up in the English media. I did not see a lot of skills from him. I was disappointed! I have watched since '74 every World Cup. I grew up with that. ... oh-oh, the English, we have to watch out. But, if you look at the English WC history .... well. In the EPL they all seem to play fantastic and it shows one thing ...... there they are playing in a TEAM. Teamwork was missing here. Nothing but stars on the field whom could not come together as a team. Overpaid and overrated as a national team. It's funny, though, how the tabloids are now ripping them apart. When before they made them out to be the winners of the WC already.

    Let's hope England invests in their young players. That would be a good move. Give the team positions to people whom are still hungry. Whom want to show the world they are great. My opinion on English WC football has changed....and I think, these players owe an apology to the fans whom spent a lot of money and time supporting them. All these lame excuses are nothing but insult on top of injury.

    July 1, 2010 at 3:29 am | Reply
  37. Rabiu S. Mohammed

    Mumu England, mumu means big fool in Nigerian Local English. Mumu England! Mumu England!! Mumu England !!!Mumuuuuuuuuu.

    July 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  38. Administrator

    FIFA has been too obvious in this World Cup. The Stadiums have been at less than half capacity for most of the games and not many people around the World watched Japan v Paraguay compared to, say England v Germany or Portugal v Spain. The bottomline is FIFA needs the big favourites to be in the last 8. Uruguay wasn't supposed to be there, nor Paraguay. If France and Italy had delivered the minimum service at the group stages, the referees would have done the rest. Germany v England, Argentina v Mexico and Spain v Portugal are the same story. Mexico was better than Argentina until the off side goal by Tevez, Portugal were more dangerous than Spain (despite the possession) until the off side goal happens and England even pulled back a second goal. No. Argentina had to be there, Brasil had to be there, Spain had to be there and Germany had to be there. End of story. From now on it won't matter so much because the audiences will by high anyway, but the refereeing has been extremely favourable to "favourite" teams. It can't be denied. FIFA are a powerful mafia, that's all.

    July 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  39. tragincajun

    England are countries that I would like to visit one day.

    July 1, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  40. Michael

    but i belive that, england will become champion on world cup... will see that... bravo england


    July 6, 2010 at 7:00 am | Reply

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