It's hard to imagine, but England have been eliminated from the World Cup.
They played well against Italy but were felled by the better side, losing 2-1. Against Uruguay, they ran into the one-man wrecking machine known as Luis Suarez, again losing 2-1. And then, needing help from Italy, they got none, as Costa Rica defeated the Azzurri, 1-0, advancing to the knockout phase themselves and eliminating England in the process.
From Bleacher Report on Twitter:
Here's the goal that ended England's tournament, via ESPN FC:
Just how shocking is this? Well, consider the historical context, provided by Fox Sports:
You could argue this is the worst performance at a World Cup in England's history, based on the following statistic from Squawka Football:
As you can imagine, Twitter was rife with reactions after Costa Rica's win. In a way, the social media site provided the psychologist's couch for an entire nation as they processed their disappointment.
There were an assortment of reactions. Some, like Ian Darke of ESPN, commiserated over the familiar pang of remorse England have left them feeling over the years:
England out World Cup on Day 9. Make that 48 years of hurt. Is Jules Rimet still gleaming? No hard luck story here. Not good enough.— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) June 20, 2014
Others, like Ben Smith of the BBC, were a bit more irreverent:
One consolation for all England fans. England cannot now go out of the #WorldCup on penalties.— Ben Smith (@BenSmithBBC) June 20, 2014
Some immediately turned their gaze toward manager Roy Hodgson, such as Tony Barrett of The Times:
England last eight days at the World Cup and the FA chairman guarantees their manager another two years. Admirable loyalty or sheer madness?— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) June 20, 2014
The consensus seemed to be "sheer madness." Well, at least if you asked Miguel Delaney of ESPN...
Basically, under Hodgson, England will always leave the question over what they could be like under a brighter more modern manager.— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) June 20, 2014
...Or Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph:
Lots of teams at this World Cup are better than their sum parts and are properly organised. England are neither and that's Hodgson's fault— Matt Law (@Matt_Law_DT) June 20, 2014
Some folks weren't in the mood for passing out blame or couching their misery in sarcasm. They instead turned to song, like John Cross of the Mirror:
If you think the English were the only ones disappointed when they were eliminated, however, think again. It turns out the English are good for business during the World Cup in other countries too, as Peter Schrager of Fox Sports found out:
NYC bar owner just told me England elimination is "catastrophic" for business. Says Brazil, USA and France fans are next biggest spenders.— P. Schrager (@PSchrags) June 20, 2014
In America, we'll root for anyone if they make us a few bucks, won't we?
But while being eliminated from the World Cup in such an unceremonious manner was heartbreaking for the English, it's not like they're suddenly going to switch allegiances, right? Right?
Ricky Gervais, at least, is having second thoughts:
Unlucky England. You did your best. Lots of Love from all us Canadians.— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) June 20, 2014
Such is the power of footy in England. Such is the disappointment at the 2014 World Cup. It was always going to be tough, escaping the Group of Death. But to be felled by Mario Balotelli, and Luis Suarez and Bryan Ruiz, of all people, just has to hurt.
There's always four years from now, of course, and there is plenty of young talent to be excited about. And the English will surely remind everyone in the coming days that they still have the world's best club football around in the Premier League (though the Spanish and Germans will disagree).
But in 2014, the show has come to an end. The English national team is dead. Long live the English national team.