Robert Green wrote his name into the lengthening list of blundering England goalkeepers when he let a routine shot from Clint Dempsey slip through his grasp for a United States equalizer at the World Cup.
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From David Seaman at the 2002 World Cup and Scott Carson in a Euro 2008 qualifier to several gaffes by David "Calamity" James, England now has a reputation for producing poor goalkeepers instead of great ones as in the past.
Players such as Gordon Banks, Ray Clemence and Peter Shilton would likely have dealt easily with Dempsey’s low, left-footed drive in the 40th minute at Rustenburg on Saturday.
Green was well positioned as he went down to stop the ball, but it slipped off his gloves and rolled into the net to make it 1-1. He was visibly deflated after his horrendous mistake, which silenced the thousands of England fans.
"I think it’s one of them freak things," England captain Steven Gerrard said. "I don’t think you can criticize the goalkeeper. They’ve been talking about the ball. I think he’ll make some important saves for us. We’re all behind him."
England supporters have long become used to epic errors from their goalkeepers.
Seaman allowed a speculative long-range free kick from Ronaldinho to float over his head for Brazil’s winning goal in a 2-1 victory at the 2002 World Cup.
James let a long-range drive by Austria’s Andreas Ivanschitz squirm under his body for the equalizer in a 2-2 draw in World Cup qualifying in 2004 after his team had led 2-0. James’ habit of wildly racing out of his area has also previously been a common sight.
Robinson went to deal with a routine backpass from teammate Gary Neville in a Euro 2008 qualifier in Croatia, but the ball hit a divot to bounce over his foot and into the net.
While Carson should have dealt comfortably with Niko Kranjcar’s shot at Wembley in another Euro 2008 qualifier. But the ball bounced past him in a 3-2 loss at home that virtually ended England’s qualifying chances.
As for Saturday’s blunder, Dempsey has seen enough of them to wonder when it would be his turn to score one.
"It’s one of those that you see and people say, ‘How come that never happens to me?"’ Dempsey said. "Finally, it’s a goal that probably the ‘keeper should have made a save on. They all count the same when they go in."