For some players, pressure can be the catalyst for a truly special performance. For others, it can be the sole reason for their downfall.
Robert Green is a decent goakeeper, but on Saturday evening he cracked under the strain.
To be a success on the international stage, particularly when you're an Englishman, you need to be able to deal with the demands of having an entire nation on your shoulders.
And that's no exaggeration. On Saturday evening the whole country came to a standstill in expectation of a comfortable win over the United States.
And while the game was far from a walk in the park, the fact remains that we still should have come away with three points.
Green's mistake, while being completely unforgiveable, didn't come as much of a surprise to me.
Although he had a reasonably solid season with struggling West Ham, the former Norwich stopper has shown on a number of occasions that he's got a mistake in him.
Yes, the same can be said of most keepers, even David James and Joe Hart, but Green has consistently displayed his inconsistency, often mixing the sublime and ridiculous in the space of just a few minutes.
Despite having only 13 caps for the Three Lions he's already been sent-off, having seen red against Ukraine during the qualifying campaign for South Africa 2010.
Add to his unpredictable form a failure to deal with the big occasion and you have a recipe for disaster.
Along with his major error, Green's display was punctuated by hesitation and poor distribution - it was as if all he was thinking about was the millions glued to their televisions at home, rather than what was going on in front of him.
Experience is key in football, especially in tournaments as vital as FIFA's showpiece. And along with his questionable ability, Green just doesn't have the knowledge and understanding that comes with a long international career.
For me it's got to be David James in goal against Algeria. His nickname might be 'calamity' but by all accounts he is the back-four's preferred choice.
He might but pushing 40, but with age comes experience and an ability to deal with the big occasion.
Green might be good enough for a West Ham side struggling at the wrong end of the table, but an England goalkeeper he definitely is not.
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