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Shooting the Breeze: World Cup 2010 Day 2 - Group C - England v USA

Weeks of expectation came to a swift anticlimax as Robert Green's howler allowed the USA to cancel out Steven Gerrard's opening goal for England.

Fabio Capello opted for his favoured 4-4-2 formation against the United States and partnered Emily Heskey with Wayne Rooney upfront with Aaron Lennon on the right wing, fit-again James Milner for the left wing and crucially picked Robert Green in goal.

It seemed that Capello had chosen to go with Lampard and Gerrard in central midfield, with James Milner patrolling the left wing to give Ashley Cole added protection from Landon Donovan and the attacking American right back Steve Cherundolo.

Robert Green was probably picked because he featured in the majority of qualifying games for this tournament under Fabio Capello while Aaron Lennon had showed plenty of good attacking form down the right in the England warm-up games and would offer a new attacking threat from midfield.

Unfortunately, a few of these decisions seemed to have backfired. Without a recognised defensive midfielder on the pitch it appeared that Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson were more reluctant to get forward than they usually did, especially with the presence of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey on the pitch.

James Milner's withdrawl after just 30 minutes might have been down to the fact that he was booked minutes before but he could have been either for tactical reasons or perhaps a reaction to the fact that Milner had only just come back from injury and a game at altitude might have sapped more of his energy than his fellow team mates.

The same energy sapping conditions might have also been responsible for Ledley King's withdrawl at half time although it would be a bigger blow if his knee injury had flared up.

Steven Gerrard led from the front when he latched onto an Emile Heskey pass in the 4th minute and England looked under control for long periods of the game. Things were going well until Robert Green committed a howler when he spilled a speculative Clint Dempsey bobbler in the 40th minute and could only watch in horror as the ball rolled out of his hands and rolled over the line behind him.

Green will have been pleased with his 65th minute save from Jozy Altidore when he palmed the US striker's effort onto his post and away from goal but England couldn't capitalise on their superior possession and greater number of chances against the USA and will now have to rely on better results in their remaining group games to ensure progression to the knockout phase.


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