Blunder goalie will bounce back
Rustenburg - England captain Steven Gerrard said goalkeeper Robert Green would recover from his howler which handed the US the equaliser in their opening match of the World Cup on Saturday.
England captain Steven Gerrard celebrates after scoring against the USA. (AFP)
Gerrard gave his side a dream start with a fourth minute strike at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, but England were sent back to square one when Green fumbled Clint Dempsey's unthreatening shot five minutes from half-time.
"It was one of those freak things," Gerrard said.
"I don't think you can criticise the goalkeeper because people have been criticising the ball and the ball is sticky so we need to get behind Robert and support him and I'm sure he'll make an important save further down the line for us."
Gerrard added: "Robert's a man, I am sure he'll learn from this and go from strength to strength."
The Liverpool midfielder said his team now needed to win their two remaining Group C games against Slovenia and Algeria to be sure of qualifying.
"The target now has got to be seven points," he said.
England coach Fabio Capello refused to point the finger of blame at the unfortunate Green, who made a good second half save from Jozy Altidore.
"He made one mistake but then pulled off a great save in the second half. I was pleased for him," said Capello.
"We had lots of chances in the game. There were a lot of positives. Just the result wasn't positive."
Capello would not be drawn on whether Green would be axed for England's next match, against Algeria in Cape Town on Friday.
"We have time to decide, we have time to speak with him. And after I will decide."
United States goalkeeper Tim Howard admitted he felt for Green.
"Of course I feel for him," Howard said after collecting the man-of-the-match award for his own display.
"He has made a couple of really good saves and, as we have been saying all week, this ball is doing silly things.
"Unfortunately at this level, sometimes these things are going to happen. I feel terribly for him but when you are goalkeeping you have to have broad shoulders."
Howard said the American squad would be glad to be able to concentrate on their next match, against Slovenia, after months of build-up to the clash with England.
"I thought it was a good result for us," the Everton goalkeeper added. "Even though it was England we wanted to come out and at least get a draw to set us up for what is to come, so overall we did our job.
"They came came out well and there were some nerves from us. But we responded well after they scored. We know we can do that and once we calmed down and got into the flow of the game I thought we did particularly well.
"It was not pretty, but defensively we did our job and I'm glad it's over.
"We have talked about England for six months. There has been a lot of hype and pressure and we have got a result and put in a performance we can be proud of. Now we can concentrate on Slovenia. We have a week to prepare and we need to get ready."
Capello revealed that he had substituted James Milner after half an hour because he feared that the midfielder would be sent off after being booked for a challenge on US right-back Steve Cherundolo.
The decision to replace Ledley King with Jamie Carragher at half-time was down to an injury however and King will miss the Algeria match with an adductor muscle problem.