So is England going out of the World Cup to Germany a national disgrace or just a consequence of years of endemic problems in the game in this country?
Or could it all be blamed on inept referees and linesmen and the absence of goal line technology?
The debates seem familiar and tired, and the results all entirely predictable, and surely the country's best hope of winning a World Cup again lies in being able to host the tournament in 2018.
But as South Africa and South Korea, and even Germany have proved, being the host nation doesn't guarantee you are going to become world champions.
This time around there appears to be a multitude of reasons why England failed: The Premiership season is clearly too long. In no other major European country are there three domestic competitions to parallel in importance or competitiveness the Premiership, FA Cup and Carling Cup.
Many other countries have mid-season breaks - as the Germans were keen to point out - but we do not because of the sheer volume of football.
But perhaps are the root of the problems our games faces is that the national team always plays second fiddle to the Premiership because the Football Association is the governor the game in name only.
As we are constantly being told, football is now a global game, and English football clubs are amongst the world's leading football brands.
Combine this with the fact that they are increasingly in the ownership of global investors or are at least in debt to consortia of international banks, and the global nature of English football continues to spiral. And continues to spiral largely out of control.
Our domestic game is deemed to be a success purely because of the commercial side of the game, although in recent seasons there has been some success in the Champions League.
But what football fan would ever truly say that watching the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid with players of the talent of Messi and Ronaldo is the same as watching workmen-like players at Chelsea or Man United?
If you love football you love Messi, if you love excitement you love the Premiership and therein lies the problem.
The English Premiership is the world's most exciting league week and week and that is what makes it such a strong global franchise.
How often has a dull 0-0 draw on a Monday night in November been enlivened in the last ten minutes by a controversial sending off and a winner in injury time? Suddenly the previous 80 minutes of tedium as two average teams lump the ball up and down the pitch is forgotten.
The average football supporter confuses this excitement with quality and can't understand why this excitement is not carried forward to the national team in World Cup tournaments.
Our game is becoming more like an American sport every season, where games - be they baseball, American football or basketball are condensed into a single play in the last few minutes.
And of course this plays into the hands of television companies who exist off subscriptions and have the ultimate marketing example of why the Premiership is so exciting when a game ends controversially.
And of course there is the argument about the development of young English players and whether or not this is being stifled by the globalisation of the game.
Of course the last 20 years is littered with examples of English clubs signing overseas players because it's good for the merchandising and end-of-season tours in the home countries of the players.
But that's no different from Real Madrid - it's just Madrid buy Galacticos and Charlton signed a Chinese player no-one had heard. But it did get Charlton a lot of fans for a few seasons in China!
There dearth of young English players is clearly not helped by the arrival of cheaper and technically better overseas players, and maybe with the higher tax rates the flood of international players to these shores will slow down.
There is one reason for the Euro to stay strong against the pound - as it deters players from the Eurozone wanting to come here. But that won't last long.
The real problem comes at grass roots where the level of football is generally very poor. How many Sunday morning games are coached by enthusiastic but incapable parents, many of whom have never taken a coaching course in their lives?
Too many. And it is the same people who confuse winning with competition. These coaches would rather boast their team has won a trophy than take pride in the technical ability of the players they look after.
In many European countries such as Holland, Germany, Italy or Spain they do not play competitive youth football until boys and girls get to the age of 12 or 13 at the youngest.
Instead they concentrate of skills development and matches do not take on any real competitive edge.
Here there are full-on competitions for 5-year-olds and upwards, even if they are not officially sanction by the FA.
And the result of all this winning over technique is an early exit from the World Cup.
Lawrence Gosling is editorial director for Incisive Media, publisher of IFAonline
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