Green blunders as England draw
12 Jun 2010 - 21:46:35
A terrible error by Robert Green allowed the USA to hit back to draw 1-1 with England in the World Cup's opening Group C game in South Africa.
Fabio Capello's side had taken an early lead thanks to Steven Gerrard's well-taken goal and were in control of the match until West Ham United keeper Green inexplicably allowed Clint Dempsey's weak shot to slip out of his grasp and trundle over the line.
It has a horrendous mistake by Green but, in truth, England did enough to win the game and played reasonably well.
England could not have wished to make a better start. Emile Heskey slipped the ball in for captain Gerrard, who produced one of his best displays in an England shirt, and he ran on before prodding the ball past Tim Howard from virtually on the penalty spot.
Capello's side seemed to take confidence from the goal although the USA almost equalised in the 20th minute when Landon Donovan's cross found Jozy Altidore who could only glance the ball wide when he should really have directed it towards goal.
When play swung to the other end Aaron Lennon, in acres of space, saw his cross cut out by Steve Cherundolo.
Capello had caused a minor surprise by starting with James Milner, but then decided to substitute the Aston Villa man on the half-hour mark after he had been booked.
Shaun Wright-Phillips, on for Milner, flashed a shot wide after being set up by Gerrard and Ashley Cole before Green's blunder.
Dempsey's weak shot appeared to be meat and drink to Green who somehow contrived to let it slip past him and over the line as he desperately tried to get back to stop it trickling home.
It was an error everything as poor as anything Paul Robinson, Scott Carson or even David James had managed in an England shirt in the past.
It took a while for England to shake the memory of the blunder from their minds but they stepped up the pace after the interval and created several clear-cut chances.
Lennon raced to the byline and pulled the ball back, but it was just behind everyone, including Wayne Rooney who, until the final quarter, had a quiet match.
Lennon then sent Heksey racing through but he drilled his powerful shot straight at Howard who managed to keep hold of the ball.
Green at least partially redeemed himself with 25 minutes left when Jamie Carragher, a half-time substitute for Ledley King, appeared to be running in quicksand when he was embarrassingly outpaced by Altidore, who then saw his effort palmed on to the post by the shot-stopper.
An unbelievable swerving 40-yard Rooney strike caught Howard out, but the ball whistled just wide as both teams ultimately settled for a draw.
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