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England-US Play to 1-1 World Cup Draw

  • Parke Brewer

In a much-anticipated and much-hyped World Cup match, the U.S. Soccer team gained a 1-1 draw against England in a Group C clash in Rustenburg, South Africa.

The 1-1 tie was a result that had to have the English players shaking their heads in disbelief and the United States happy to come away with one point from the opening group match for both teams.

That's because England goalie Robert Green fumbled what should have been a routine save, and it proved costly.

England had a dream start in Saturday night's match, getting a goal in only the fourth minute. It came after a thrown-in by England deep in U.S. territory. The ball found Emile Heskey who sent a through ball to Steven Gerrard who beat American defenders and side-footed the ball from close range past U.S. goalie Tim Howard.

The run of play was fairly equal as England maintained the 1-0 lead until the 40th minute. That's when disaster struck for the England. U.S. midfielder Clint Dempsey made a few touches on the ball several meters outside the top of the box, spun free and fired a left-footer between two defenders right at goalie Robert Green. But Green let the low shot slip through his hands and watched it roll across the goal line as he dove backwards trying to keep it out. That made it 1-1.

England clearly outplayed the USA in the second half, but Howard - who plays professionally in England's Premier League - repeatedly came up with big saves.

The best chance the Americans had to go ahead came in the 65th minute when forward Jozy Altidore's angled shot was deflected by Green and hit off the left goal post.

Afterward, Howard said he was glad after all the hype and pressure the match was over. He added he and his teammates put in a performance they can be proud of.

The other two teams in Group C, Algeria and Slovenia, play one another Sunday (7:30am ET) in Polokwane. The U.S. Soccer team will next play on Friday in Johannesburg.

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