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Germany outclasses England

June 27, 2010
Schaerlaeckens By Leander Schaerlaeckens
ESPN.com
(Archive)

First it was a controversial call, and then it was just a 4-1 destruction. Germany's dominance over England for most of this game made irrelevant a terrible call that robbed England of a 2-2 equalizer in the first half. Be that as it may, here's how the key players did:

Wayne Rooney, England: C

England's star player badly damaged his pedigree on the international scene this tournament. He never did get into a rhythm and had only 15 or so minutes in this game when he was influential. England's disappointing run had much to do with Rooney's poor play, though in fairness, he wasn't fully fit.

Miroslav Klose, Germany: A

Germany's first goal was almost entirely on Klose's merit. The long ball by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer took a big hop, and Klose held off his man and managed to keep his balance to slip the ball past David James. He had much to do with the second goal, too, setting up Podolski's goal with a superb pass. The experience of one of the most prolific strikers in World Cup history was crucial in getting Germany a head start in this game.

Steven Gerrard, England: B-

The multitalented Liverpool midfielder was once again a non-factor, as his impact was negated by a quick and strong German midfield. The Gerrard and Lampard experiment, which played out of position and was not fed the ball enough, should now be put to bed once and for all.

Frank Lampard, England: B

Lampard didn't have a bad game, but it would have been a lot better if the sport had adopted goal-line technology.

Mesut Ozil, Germany: A-

Ozil, Michael Ballack's excellent replacement, had another breakout game, showing himself to be a big part of Die Mannschaft's future. He was strong on the ball and helped on the third German goal by distracting the defense with a diagonal run. On the fourth goal, he darted down the left flank and played a beautiful pass to Thomas Muller through defender Ashley Cole's legs, handing Muller the goal on a silver platter.

Thomas Muller, Germany: A

The 20-year-old striker scored the third and fourth goals for Germany after setting up the second, showing that same touch that helped lead Bayern Munich to glory this year. He became the first German under the age of 21 to score two goals in a World Cup game since Franz Beckenbauer. Enough said.

FIFA: F

How many more times are we going to have to watch a goal not given because FIFA refuses to adopt goal-line technology?

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a soccer writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at leander.espn@gmail.com.