Shamik Das

Sunday, June 13, 2010



Rustenburg, World Cup, Group C: England 1-1 USA

ENGLAND fluffed a number of chances in the wake of Robert Green’s fluffed save, lucky to end a disappointing display with a 1-1 draw.

Following a dream start, in which Steven Gerrard needed all of four minutes to put England on the board - latching on to Emile Heskey’s well-placed reverse pass - England allowed the US back in to the game four minutes from hal-time when Green spilled Clint Dempsey’s speculative long-range shot.

Green, however, redeemed himself 20 minutes into the second half, tipping Jozy Altidore’s fierce strike onto the post to safety, with Heskey, who smashed the ball straight at Tim Howard when clean through, and Shaun Wright-Phillips, who should have lashed the ball left-footed - à la Siphiwe Tshabalala’s thunderbolt in the opener - but instead tried to place it right-footed.

Watch highlights of the game below:

So once again questions are being asked over England’s number one, a position even Fabio Capello seems unsure of, leaving it to two hours before kick off to reveal his first choice, and let’s be honest, it isn’t a great choice: Green, David James (who always has an error in him) or the untried Joe Hart.

Looking back through history, from 1966 onwards (and probably even before) seldom has a World Cup been won without a keeper at the top of his game, a cert between the sticks and more often than not the number one goalkeeper in the world - even when won by the attack-oriented Brazilians.

Banks, Félix, Maier, Fillol, Zoff, Pumpido, Ilgner, Taffarel, Barthez, Marcos, Buffon... a line of names to which it’s impossible to see Green, James or Hart added. Ditto the Euros, where the winning keepers since 1980 have been Schumacher, Bats, van Breukelen, Schmeichel, Köpke, Barthez, Nikopolidis and Casillas.

Last night offered further proof that, without a number one number one England will struggle to be the number ones.

World Cup 2010 wallchart


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