Green' s blunder raises U.S hope to enter top 16 of World Cup

08:43, June 13, 2010      

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A blunder of England' s goalkeeper Robert Green raised the hope of the U.S. squad to enter the knock-out stage of the 2010 World Cup by holding the Three Lions to 1-1 draw in their first group match.

The pivotal equalizer came in a sudden and dramatic way at the 40th minute. A long-distance shot by Clint Dempsy slipped away from the grip of England goalkeeper Robert Green and rolled directly into the net.

The Three Lions mounted huge pressure on the U.S. squad after the interval, but the tight and resolute defense of the Stars and Stripes, especially several clear saves and consistent performance of U.S. goalie Howard, foiled the repeated efforts of England to break the draw.

England coach Fabio Capello told reporters after the match, "We played a good match and we created a lot of good chances, we played better than the United States, but the luck was not with us, we have to look forward."

Capello added that it was difficult to score another goal despite good crosses, because the defense of the U.S. side was quite good.

U.S. coach Bob Bradley attributed the outcome of the match to the marvelous performance of midfielders.

"Midfielders as whole did a good job. England was strong. I am pleased that our midfield can compete with England," Bradley said.

As fans expected, the England squad was motivated first by the thundering cheers in the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace. Captain Steven Gerrand, midfield genius of England, showed a good example by scoring a brisk goal at the fourth minute after taking a cross, leaving U.S. goalkeeper Tom Howard in pain.

That spurred the men of Bob Bradley into full attack thereafter. One highlight in the waves of assaults was that veteran Landon Donovan, almost synonymous with the US team in recent years, managed to make a brilliant pass right above the head of his teammate, American top scorer Jozy Altidore. Altidore, however, failed to change it into a successful header.

Five minutes to the end of the first half, Dempsy's goal due to the fatal mistake of Green give a relief to the U.S. football fans.

Green and David Beckham, who came to cheer for his teammates on the sideline, were both stunned by the abrupt change.

After the interval, Wayne Rooney, who failed to shine in the first half, strived to bring a breakthrough by staging a fizzling attack thrust at the 75th minute, but Rooney' s attempt to surge ahead was crushed by Howard. Howard was rewarded Man of the Match later.

England coach Fabio Capello later attached his hope to the replacement of Emile Heskey by Peter Crouch at the 80th minute, but the man did not live up to Capello' s expectations, although he and his teammates imposed intense pressure on the U.S. side.

The American team once again proved their prowess after last year's FIFA Conferederations Cup in which they ousted European champions Spain in the semi-finals and only succumbed to a narrow 3-2 defeat against football empire Brazil in the final.

The pivotal draw paved the way for the U.S. squad to sail through into the knockout stage, as their Group C is dominated by England.

England will face the challenge from Algeria in Cape Town on June 18 while the United Stated will strive to collect points in their next group match against Slovenia in Johannesburg on the same day.

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