HAMBURG, Germany -- England's players may have been dominating the sports pages of their country's newspapers during their time in Germany, but they've been shifted off the front pages.

So what has taken precedent?

The Gaza conflict?

The Vatican's opening of interwar archives?

No, it's the WAGs.

The WAGs, standing for "Wives and Girlfriends," refers to the England players' glamorous other halves who have followed them out to Germany.

Traditionally, players' partners have stayed at home during tournaments like the World Cup because of concerns over the energy-sapping effects of pre-match sex.

But in Germany, the girls are out and about en masse, and the European media has gone WAG mad.

The girls' days are filled with shopping in the boutiques of Baden Baden, where the England team is based, and topping up their tans. Every little detail of which WAG did what is splashed across Britain's newspapers.

The Sun, Mirror, Daily Star and even the broadsheet Daily Telegraph had a picture of Wayne Rooney's fiancee Colleen McLoughlin on their front page on Friday.

McLoughlin was soaked to the skin in a skimpy white top after a go on a water ride with some of the other WAGs after they took a break from the designer stores for a day out at a German theme park.

Undisputed top WAG is Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice and wife of England captain David Beckham.

Posh is a mother of two and eschews the boozing sessions enjoyed by some of the other girls. In Posh's clique is Cheryl Tweedy, fiancee of left-back Ashley Cole, and McLoughlin. Loosely tied to the trio is coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's partner Nancy Dell'Olio.

It has been said they are linked because at least three had some sort of career pre-WAG status and now look down upon some of the other girls, who have no other claim to fame apart from that they are dating a soccer player.

Posh has been involved in music and fashion, Tweedy is in pop group Girls Aloud and Dell'Olio was a lawyer in Italy.

McLoughlin has thought it wise to attach herself to this "elite" bunch of WAGs rather than the ones who hit the bars of Baden Baden and knock back champagne, vodka and Red Bulls till the early hours.

This group of WAGs includes Frank Lampard's Spanish fiancee Elen Rives and Steven Gerrard's girlfriend Alex Curran. Reports suggest that they like their late nights just as much as the other girls, but both have babies and so have to get home at a respectable hour.

The gaggle of other WAGs, though, are full-time party girls, and some have reportedly put the noses of the WAG creme de la creme -- Posh Spice and Dell'Olio -- out of joint because of their attempts to steal the spotlight and late-night antics.

They say these young striplings are forgetting the reason they are out in Germany in the first place: to support England's attempt to win the World Cup for the first time since its only triumph in 1966.

And falling out of bars in the early hours after getting soused on champagne before waking up and shopping off the hangover at Louis Vuitton probably isn't the best way to go about this, say the uber-WAGs.

The English press, though, love their antics in Germany and are on full-time "WAG Watch."

It was reported that at one of the England games, a pitch-side photographer for a British newspaper got in trouble after having his camera trained the whole match on the girls in the stands instead of the players on the pitch.

The WAGs, though, haven't impressed everybody.

Newspapers from other countries has torn into them, the Scottish Herald suggesting WAG stands for Witless Anorexic Girlfriend and Spanish newspaper ABC calling them "hooligans with VISAs."