England goalkeeper Robert Green fails to stop a goal shot by Clint Dempsey of the U.S. during a World Cup Group C soccer match at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, on Saturday.
Well, I've never thought of myself as much of a prognosticator. But I called this one in my earlier blog post.
England's weakness at goalkeeping caught up with us. Robert Green's amateurish error had shades of Bill Buckner. Green had a mediocre season for West Ham and it was a bit of a surprise Capello picked him to start, though his options were limited. Can't wait to read the English tabloid headlines in the morning. They'll be juicy. Very juicy.
In many respects, it was a tale of two goalkeepers. Tim Howard made several critical saves and looked very sharp. The U.S. also did a good job of containing Rooney, who was almost invisible until the last 20 minutes when he suddenly started to roar -- too little, too late.
One of the things Capello has done well is get England playing like a team, meshing great players whose styles and natural positions aren't necessarily complimentary. But today there was little of that fluency. England clearly missed Rio Ferdinand. They were vulnerable to Jozy Altidore's pace. And at times the England defenders looked as if they needed a cocktail party to get to know each other.
In truth, it wasn't an especially distinguished game. The U.S. looked disorganized at the back, bailed out repeatedly by Howard. Other than one great chance in the second half, they were pretty toothless in attack. Green barely had a serious save to make.
Ultimately, a tie was a fair result. Both teams should still qualify from this group. Both will need to play much better before the rest of the world quakes in its boots.