And so the inquest begins. The UK newspapers are dominated by the fallout from England's 4-1 defeat to Germany in South Africa. The dailies get stuck into Fabio Capello and his squad's failings with as much relish as Thomas Muller and Miroslav Klose.
Capello is mauled by the Red Tops for overseeing England's heaviest defeat at a World Cup finals.
"Rout of Africa" is the main headline on the front page of the Daily Mirror while the back page is equally scathing in urging the Italian coach to quit. "Fabigo" says the Mirror. "England are humiliated but coach calls it a good performance..sorry Capello, you should quit in shame."
The Sun's front page headline says simply: "You let your country down." The backpage sums up the mood of a rabid popular press. "Time to go Fabio - clear off - and take your players with you."
Terry Venables questions Capello's tactics in The Sun. The former England manager wonders why Capello stuck to 4-4-2.
"Playing 4-4-2 was a mistake against the Germans. As it was against Egypt, Mexico, USA and Algeria..." says Venables.
"It presented Joachim Loew's men with too much room, which they exploited to devastating effect. And nobody had more freedom inside the Free State Stadium than Mesut Ozil."
Henry Winter echoes similar sentiments in the Daily Telegraph, professing the belief that Capello's time is up. "Capello got it wrong and must now go" says a headline in The Daily Telegraph. "Time to go, grazie and arrivederci. Why? Not just because of 4-1, but because of 4-4-2," opines Winter.
Open season on Capello continues in the Daily Mail where columnist Richard Littlejohn takes a break from analysing the politics of the country to analyse the politics of the country's drubbing in its national sport.
"If The Few had defended as badly as England, we'd all be speaking German now," says Littlejohn on the Daily Mail's front page. The paper continues to warm to the task on page three. "Three Lions? More like the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz," says Littlejohn.
"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," writes 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."
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 nation has ever known," he said. "And Capello has to take the blame."
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.
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 Argentinian defence - and a roll of thunder - (David) Beckham's red card - is finally over," he said.
Owen himself questions the demands the Premier League places upon players before major tournaments in The Daily Telegraph.
"The Premier League demands a lot more effort than any other and your body cannot keep doing it and doing it over a full season.
"You want the best league in the world, you want fast, entertaining football which we play all season through any weather.
"You get all that in England, so there has to be a sacrifice somewhere and maybe it is taking its toll in the tournaments."
The Times sums it up with one word on the front pages of its sports section. "Humiliated" with a snapshot of several crestfallen England players during the defeat.
In contrast, a mood of euphoria dominates the delighted German newspapers.
"Boys, we love you!" says the main headline on Bild.
The paper compares Frank Lampard's goal to Geoff Hurst's effort in England's win over Germany in 1966 World Cup final "Thank you football god!" (Wembley 1966)
"That's how we become world champions! Historical victory over England," comments AZ.
The Express pays tribute to national coach Joachim Loew for his role in Germany's latest World Cup victory over their old rivals.
"We Loew you - yeah, yeah, yeah!" while Süddeutsche says that "Wembley is Bloemfontein now".
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung focused on Germany's merits in a "fairytale 4-1 win over England".
"This was the national team's first major international maturity test, and they passed it with distinction," wrote the FAZ.
"It is Loew's merit and he should carry on his job."
Young Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller was equally praiseworthy for his two goals and one assist, completing a remarkable story which, just one year ago, saw him kicking around in the Bavarian club's reserve team.
"He has forced world class players like Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose out of the FC Bayern starting XI," explained the Welt newspaper.
- Fabio Capello
- Miroslav Klose
- Joachim Loew