worldcup 2010


Saturday, 12 June 2010

U.S. recovers on England's fumble

Los Angele's times news :

Americans get a tie in World Cup opener when England's Robert Green lets in a bad goal by Clint Dempsey. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard has a strong game after being beaten early and then injuring his ribs.

As far as goals go, that was it. The match ended in a 1-1 tie, which was a huge plus for the underdog U.S. and a huge blow to the ego of World Cup contender England and its fans.

But it wasn't the end of the bad news.

For David James, it arrived even before the kickoff, when England Coach Fabio Capello told him he would not be starting, that he had decided to give Green the nod instead.

For Marcus Hahnemann, it arrived about a half-hour into the game. That's when England forward Emile Heskey made a lunge for the ball and caught Howard square in the ribs. Howard stayed down, and for a moment Hahnemann thought he would be sent on as a substitute and thus make his World Cup debut.

But Howard is a durable sort and he ignored the pain and continued.

If Saturday night's game in front of a crowd of 38,646 was the story of anything, it was the story of goalkeepers and goalkeeping, and the tale might still have a twist.

If Howard feels the aftereffects of his clash with Heskey, he could miss the second U.S. game, against Slovenia in Johannesburg on Friday.

If Capello decides that Green's miscue was a troubling sign that might be repeated, he could replace him with James for England's second game, against Algeria in Cape Town, also on Friday. Green did make a big second-half save on Jozy Altidore, getting an assist from the right post.

As always, all of the incidents and all the aftermath were liberally sprinkled with comment by the parties involved.

Would Howard miss the Slovenia game?

"We'll assess over the next few days how he's feeling," U.S. Coach Bob Bradley said.

Had Heskey fouled Howard when he made a stab for the ball, and how painful was the collision?

"It felt like agony, you know," Howard said. "I knew Heskey was going to slide into me. He had every right to go for that ball the same as I did. You just leave yourself exposed when you're at full stretch.

"He came in and caught me just under my chest and my ribs. Initially, I was in a lot of pain and I was only going to give myself five or 10 minutes to see if I could get through it. I was in a lot of discomfort, but some pain medication at halftime eased it a little bit."

Would Capello send Green to the bench for his faux pas?

"We have time to decide," England's Italian coach said. "We have time to speak with [the coaching] team. After, I will decide."

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