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:
Others, like Ben Smith of the BBC, were a bit more irreverent:
Some immediately turned their gaze toward manager Roy Hodgson, such as Tony Barrett of The Times:
The consensus seemed to be "sheer madness." Well, at least if you asked Miguel Delaney of ESPN...
...Or Matt Law of the Daily Telegraph:
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:
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:
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.
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