Green's gaffe the worst in England history

Green's gaffe the worst in England history

There have been dreadful errors by England goalkeepers before, but Rob Green's mistake on Saturday was arguably the worst ever by an England goalkeeper, DPA reported.

There seemed little danger as Clint Dempsey shot at goal from 25 yards. The strike was not especially ferocious, and seemed to be headed straight for Green.

The West Ham United goalkeeper got behind it, but the ball glanced off his gloves and spun behind him as he desperately grasped after it.

So an England lead became 1-1, and two points were dropped.

"As we've said all week long this ball's doing silly things," said US keeper Tim Howard, who was named man of the match.

He was echoing the criticism of the Jabulani ball that has been common this week, but it is hard to see what the ball did that was especially perfidious.

"At this level these things happen," Howard went on, "and it's terrible when it happens to you, but you have to have broad shoulders."

Green is the latest in a string of recent England goalkeepers to make costly errors.

When the likes of Bert Williams, Gordon Banks, Ray Clemence and Peter Shilton were playing, England was justifiably proud of its goalkeeping tradition.

There were errors - notably Peter Bonetti diving over Franz Beckebauer's shot in the 1970 World Cup quarter-final against West Germany, or Shilton similarly misjudging Jan Domarski's shot as Poland prevented England from qualifying for the 1974 World Cup - but the mistakes seem to have become increasingly frequent.

First to suffer the recent curse was Paul Robinson, who took a swing at a Gary Neville backpass in England's Euro 2008 qualifier in Zagreb, and was defeated by a bobble, gifting Croatia a 2-0 win.

Croatia were the beneficiaries again in the return the following year as Scott Carson allowed a Niko Kranjcar drive to skip over his hands and into the net.

That gave Croatia a 1-0 lead and they went on to win 3-2, eliminating England from the tournament.

But Carson at least had the excuse of a pitch slicked by persistent rain, while Kranjcar struck the shot firmly.

For Green there was no such mitigation.

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