LONDON - England's beaten and beleaguered
World Cup players made a sullen and silent dawn return to London
on Tuesday, dodging waiting fans as the storm of criticism at
their early exit continued.
Former captain David Beckham, ruled out of the tournament in
South Africa by injury, led the squad off the plane after they
arrived at London's Heathrow airport at around 5.20am. local
England were sent packing on Sunday when Germany trounced
them 4-1 in Bloemfontein, their worst World Cup finals defeat.
There were few smiles as players, who had been among the
tournament favourites but went out in the second round, were
escorted to a private terminal away from the waiting media and
without having to face any returning fans.
Few will have wanted to read Tuesday's headlines anyway,
with the Sun newspaper making its feelings clear about the
nation's "football flops" with a mock weather forecast on the
front page after a weekend heatwave in Britain.
"Sunny outlook in many areas but depression over Heathrow as
shower drifts in from South Africa," it declared.
With England's involvement in the tournament at an end,
attention turned to the future of manager Fabio Capello.
The Italian, who said on Monday he wanted to stay on, has
blamed fatigue after a long and intense Premier League season
without a winter break for his players' poor showing.
"All of the English players arrived really tired at this
competition," he told reporters in Rustenburg. "I spoke to all
our coaches and they all told me that in their physical and
mental situation, they were not like the players that we know."
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