Green joins list of blundering England goalkeepers

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.

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,” said, England captain

Steven Gerrard, who scored his team’s fourth-minute goal. “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.”

Green said the fumble wouldn’t wreck his confidence.

“It was a mistake. The important thing is not to let it affect

you for however long is left in the game,” he was quoted as

saying. “That is what you prepare for mentally. You don’t prepare

mentally for making great saves and playing the perfect game. You

prepare for trauma.”

Green said it was “regrettable” but he was mature enough as a

player to move on.

“It won’t affect me psychologically. I’m 30, I’m a man, and you

have hardships in life and prepare for them,” he said. “At a

younger point in my life it would have affected me more.”

England coach Fabio Capello said he had not decided yet whether

to keep Green in goal for the second game against Algeria in Cape

Town on Friday.

“He made a mistake but in the second half he made a good save.

We have time to decide, to speak with him, Afterwards I will


Green also got sympathy from U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard whose

string of saves helped his team get a point.

“I feel terrible for him,” the American said. “He’s got broad

shoulders. He’ll bounce back.”

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


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.”