Like winning a bowler hat the day after losing your head, victory over Afghanistan will bring little consolation for an England team who have endured a truly wretched World Cup campaign.
On a rainy day, in a stadium with 41,000 empty seats, this match felt a long way from the glamour and excitement of the World Cup. This was a sideshow, the busker outside the theatre, the day after the fair left town. Greatness, it turns out, isn't contagious at all. Instead, irrelevance and mediocrity reigned.
You might think that, against this modest opposition - and Afghanistan will be disappointed with the way they batted against the moving ball - many of England's flaws would be masked.
But they were still visible. Stuart Broad, worn down by years of England's self-defeating schedule, bowled at an average speed of 82mph - just 4.5mph quicker than Ravi Bopara - while it took James Anderson into his fifth over to bowl a delivery that would have hit the stumps. For such an experienced, skilful swing bowler to pitch so relentlessly short has been maddening.
If you judged by the figures alone, you might conclude that England bowled well in this match. But the truth is that Afghanistan struggled to maintain their composure in bowler-friendly conditions and England failed to utilise them sufficiently. Against better sides, it would have been crucial to strike with the new ball and the failure to capitalise would have been punished. The wicket taken by Anderson, in the seventh over, would have been a wide had the batsman not slashed and edged to slip.
Equally, if you judge by the raw "data" - and we shall come back to that word - you might think that Ian Bell had enjoyed a decent World Cup. Three half-centuries and an average of 52.40 sounds more than all right.
But half-centuries against Scotland, Bangladesh and Afghanistan should not mask the fact that he has failed to shape the big games. He has plundered runs against soft opposition and failed when it counts. If England keep accepting it, they will keep accepting failure. Bell, for all his obvious class and good intentions, has played 161 ODIs now. Why would we expect the 162nd to be different?
The current bandwagon that England are obsessed with data is simplistic. It may appeal as a quick-fix solution, but it does not stand scrutiny
There will be a review into this failure in the coming weeks. Usually these reviews consist of some good-natured fellas getting together in their blazers and recommending the appointment of another manager. That is how the position of MD of England cricket, currently held by Paul Downton, was invented.
They would be far better served recommending the removal of several tiers of management. If the ECB cuts out the position of MD, president and one of a list of CEO, COO, CFO and, no doubt, UFO, they would no longer be obliged to play so much cricket to pay for them.
What does Andy Flower - still employed on a large salary - do now? What does David Parsons, the performance director who has often managed the Lions, do in a summer when they have no games? What would happen if half of these people didn't turn up to work on Monday? The system is creaking under the weight of them. The system needs to be changed.
The coach, Peter Moores, seems to be the focal point for much of the anger at present. Yes, Moores erred in changing England's plans on the eve of the first game of the tournament. After several months of giving Chris Woakes the new ball and allowing James Taylor to bat at No. 3, it was destabilising to alter that at the last minute. And neither Alex Hales or Gary Ballance were really given a chance to flourish after being drafted into the side at late notice after spending weeks on the sidelines.
But much of the criticism of Moores has been unfair. Not only does the ECB insist he has been misquoted in recent days - they claim that one radio interview in which he is alleged to have said the word "data" actually contained the word "later" - but he has been appallingly let down by his most experienced players.
It is not Moores' fault that Eoin Morgan has five ducks in his last 11 ODIs. It is not Moores' fault that Broad has turned into a tail-end medium-pacer or that Anderson appears to have wilted under the glare of the global spotlight. Moores may not be the man to take England into the future, but he should be judged by his own failures, not those of his most experienced players.
It was a point accepted by Morgan after the game. Stating that it was "not fair" to make Moores the focal point of criticism, Morgan insisted his team had "given it everything" and, slightly jarringly, had "no regrets at all".
"All the responsibility should fall on the players," Morgan said. "It's important that we realise as a side where the responsibility lies and where we want to be and how we want to get there."
Morgan also insisted that each of the current squad still had a future in ODI cricket. And there remains an unsettling fear that, on the whole, the best players in England were selected for this tournament. The absence of suitable left-arm bowlers, pace or spin, reflects poorly on the entire English game.
The current bandwagon - that England are obsessed with data - is simplistic, though. It may appeal as a quick-fix solution, but it does not stand scrutiny. Indeed, it is understood that one team analyst threatened to go home earlier in the tour as his work was being utilised so little. It is available to the players, as it should be, but it is not stuffed down their throats.
It is true that Moores did use the word in a TV interview a few minutes after defeat to Bangladesh. But it came halfway into a seven-minute interview in which he also said "now isn't the time for analysis".
Blaming Moores, who has been in place for less than a year, and attempting to use his words - real or imagined - against him will not bring England success.
We need to look deeper. We need to ask who Kevin Shine, the bowling coach at Loughborough for many years, has helped develop. We need to ask who Peter Such, the spin coach, has helped develop. We need to ask why just about every seam bowler becomes slower for their association with the England team and why the one Test-quality spinner in England - Moeen Ali - has flourished because of his insistence to do things his own way.
Moeen credits the crucial change in his career- the ability to bowl with more pace without losing flight - to a chance conversation with the umpire Kumar Dharmasena at Lord's. Why is it that an umpire can spot in five minutes what England's coaches couldn't in years?
We might also ask why Moeen, whose doosra was so well disguised that when he delivered it last year almost no broadcasters noticed, feels unable to bowl it now in case the puritans insist he is banned. The puritans who couldn't tell he had bowled it until they read it on ESPNcricinfo.
Let us look, too, at whether Mark Ramprakash - the most anxious of cricketers - is really an asset in a dressing room looking for calm and what David Saker, who has either poor ideas or is unable to communicate his good ones, now contributes. Saker, it is understood by ESPNcricinfo, will not travel back to the UK with the squad as he has a job interview in Australia. Suffice it to say, he might not receive an improved offer from the ECB in an attempt to keep him this time.
England need change, no doubt. But it needs to be real, not totemic.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo