England goalkeeper Robert Green fumbled a Clint Dempsey shot late in the first half in the World Cup opener for both teams and the U.S. came away with a 1-1 tie to the favored Three Lions.
And if you’re not too familiar with the World Cup, this tie is a good thing. The great American college football coach Bear Bryant once said “a tie is like kissing your sister.”
In the case of the U.S. against England, imagine your sister is Kate Beckinsale.
Green’s fumble came after England scored just four minutes into the match, a Steven Gerrard score off a throw-in set piece, and England held the initiative for much of the rest of the half.
But Green’s mistake breathed new life into the U.S., which recovered admirably after its early mistake.
It’s going to be fascinating to see the post-game reaction to this in the English press.
One other quick point (I’m at Churchill Downs getting ready to cover the Stephen Foster Stakes), in all the talk about England’s goalkeeping gaffe, a tremendous match by U.S. keeper Tim Howard should not be lost. It was going to take a great individual effort on his part to keep the U.S. in this match, and that’s exactly what he delivered.
A look at some immediate stories (will add more as they hit the wires):
— The AP says Green joins a list of blundering English goalkeepers. “From David Seaman in the 2002 World Cup, Scott Carson in a Euro 2008 qualifier to several gaffes by David “Calamity” James, England has a growing reputation for producing poor goalkeepers.” [The Washington Post]
— England captain Steven Gerrard is backing Green. “It was one of those freak things, I don’t think you can criticize the keeper. People have been talking about the ball and it is tricky.” And more telling — and significant — he said, “It was a bit of a shock and it took us a while to get over it.” [ESPN.com]
— England coach Fabio Capello to Oliver Kay of the Times of London: “The result is not ok for us. We played better than the USA, but this is football.”