World of Sport

World Cup Paper Round: England laments

World of Sport

Should he stay or should he go? Fabio Capello's future as England manager, if he has one, is the main talking point of the UK's papers. The country's collective failure at the World Cup finals continues to be dissected with a lot more intensity than the team's effort in their 4-1 shredding by Germany.

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Nobody does criticism better than The Sun. 'Build em' up to knock em' down' is the classic mentality of the British tabloids. It is difficult to imagine it was only two days since Gerrard, Rooney et al were being held up as lions and St George's flags were hanging out of windows and cars up and down the land.

The bunting has been well and truly taken down as England prepared to fly back into London this morning to what The Sun predicts will be a "frosty reception".

"Sunny outlook in many areas but depression over Heathrow as shower drifts in from South Africa", booms out the headlines from the front page of The Sun. "Lost It" says the backpage as former England striker Alan Shearer wades into the melee with as much menace as in his days totting up goals.

"It looked to me as if the England players did not want to play for him," writes Shearer. "There was something fundamentally wrong inside that camp and only those there know the real problems and can tell the truth about what went on. Once we got to South Africa, we were not good enough."

The Mirror joins in the searing criticism of Capello and his players by publishing a picture of Ashley Cole and Ledley King laughing only hours after the loss to Germany. "What a joke" says The Mirror while the paper also wonders whether or not the Football Association will be able to find the £12million it claims is needed to pay off the remainder of Capello's contract.

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"A disgrace" cries the Daily Star as the picture of Cole and King is plastered across their front page. The paper says Capello will have to wait two weeks to discover whether or not he will keep the job, but claims the Italian will leave with at least £5 million from any severance agreement.

Henry Winter draws up a list of "10 things we must do to save English football" in The Daily Telegraph, calling for a diverse assortment of measures, ranging from a winter break to be introduced in the Premier League and increased government investment in physical education in school.

The Telegraph also wonders whether Wembley Stadium should be sold to a concert organiser because it is a "financial drain" on the FA that should be hired out to England for international matches. 

James Lawton takes a different approach in The Independent. He says the collective failure of the England squad should be left at the door of the players rather than Capello.

"It was true that in the end Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard and John Terry and, above all, Wayne Rooney had simply failed to meet the challenge," writes Lawton.

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The Daily Mail is fairly forthright in its opinion of Capello's tenure as manager. "He's cashing in on failure" says the newspaper, with Sir Dave Richards, the chairman of Club England, apparently going to take two weeks to decide if Capello is the man to lead the country's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

It also gives a list of possible replacements with Roy Hodgson, Harry Redknapp and Martin O'Neill proclaimed as possible British candidates with Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola posted as the Mail's "Fantasy wish list" of candidates from overseas.

With all the vitriol aimed at the England squad, it can be difficult to remember that a tournament is still breaking out in South Africa.

The Mail says that Robinho's form in Brazil's 3-0 win over Chile in their last-16 match will be welcomed as much in Manchester as in Rio de Janeiro, claiming Manchester City will be able to demand a hefty fee if they sell the striker, who cost them over £30million in 2008, after he was loaned out to Brazilian club Santos last season.

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The Spanish papers are relishing this evening's meeting between Spain and close neighbours Portugal in the last 16 of the finals.

AS are hopeful Spain can regain the levels that carried them to the European Championship two years ago with a picture of Spain's victory in Austria plastered across the front page.

Marca warms to Cristiano Ronaldo in a Real Madrid shirt, but warns him on their front page.

"Mucho Ojo Cristiano" (Be careful, Cristiano) ahead of a contest that should rival England v Germany in itensity if maybe not the 4-1 scoreline.  

The Italian sports daily Tuttosport has an obvious interest in the Capello situation.

It has a picture of the former Milan and Juventus manager depicted as a fairly bemused figure at England's final press conference before they left South Africa.

It also goes big on former Italian defender Claudio Gentile describing the Argentina coach Diego Maradona as a "charlatan".

Maradona was concerned about challenges made on Lionel Messi during Argentina's 3-1 win over Mexico with 1982 World Cup winner Gentile claiming Maradona was guilty of foul play in his pomp.

"He was expelled in that world (1982 World Cup finals) for a kick in the stomach to a player in Brazil," Gentile is quoted as telling the Italian newspaper. "He's a charlatan. That's his opinion, but I respect him and I disagree."

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