Keepers turn into buffoons
England 1, USA 1 ... disappointing start for Capello’s
WHAT is it about being England number one that turns great goalkeepers and grown men into fumbling buffoons?
Peter Bonetti, David Seaman, David James, Paul Robinson and Scott Carson all came, saw and capitulated - and now Rob Green can add his name to the list after his Saturday night shocker.
American ace Clint Dempsey’s low trundler barely looked to be reaching the target, but it was helped on it’s painfully slow way across the line by the mother of all goalkeeping gaffes.
Millions of men across the country will have despairingly tried to claw the ball back into their grasp along with Green. But it was to no avail. We were all left with our heads in our hands.
Slamming our fists onto the bar or hurling a coffee cup across the room, we all felt his pain before pointing the finger of blame.
From now on, Green will always be known as the man who made that mistake – even though he did somewhat redeem himself when turning a Jozy Altidore shot onto a post.
The lanky American had embarrassed substitute Jamie ‘Liverpool is more important than England’ Carragher on a secondhalf charge into the box before being denied.
So while Green will never be able to forget his 40th minute fumble at the Royal Bafokeng, we should remember that only his right glove saved England from going down to defeat at the hands of a striker who managed a princely sum of one goal and one head-butt while on loan at Hull City last season.
So anyone who took odds of 7/1 on England winning the World Cup won’t be sitting very comfortably right now, but there’s no need to panic quite yet.
England’s best two World Cup campaigns both started with disappointing draws and I once lifted the great trophy on Football Manager when in charge of Finland after only managing five points in the group. We went on to beat Brazil 5-1 in the final, if anyone cares.
While we’re on the subject of comfort, I couldn’t help noticing how awkward a lot of the England players looked during the national anthem on Saturday.
A paltry five of them could be seen singing along to God Save The Queen while another five didn’t bother at all. But the best pre-match moment came courtesy of Glen Johnson who suddenly started moving his mouth in a slightly strange way when realising he had a camera in his face.
Priceless stuff, but his performance just got better and better to the point when he was a clear England man-of-the-match.
On the other hand, I could hardly be more comfortable. After all, I’m the man whose blossoming career has taken him to, er, his sitting room.
Four days into the Greatest Show on Earth and I’ve barely missed a thing – apart from England’s goal.
Thanks to some technological twittery from an ITV incompetent, the millions like myself tuning in to watch in HD were actually viewing an advert while captain marvel Steven Gerrard fired England ahead.
So no marauding run into the box and fine low finish for us. No, we were watching a bunch of bloody Hyundai cars having a half-time orange.
“So you paid an extra tenner a month for that, did you?” chipped in my razor-sharp wife. “Glad to see you’re getting value for money.”
It was in the seconds that followed that I began to understand why incidents of domestic violence are expected to increase by as much as 30 per cent during the World Cup.
LIONS LEAPING: Frank Lampard dodges a tackle.