World Cup: U.S. vs. England: 1-1 at the half
England and the U.S. have played a half in their World Cup opener and thanks to a gift from England's keeper Robert Green, the teams went into the locker room tied.
In the 40th minute, Clint Dempsey of the U.S. got off a left-footed shot that bounced twice on its way to the goal. Green slid over, went to his knees and appeared to be in position for an easy save. But he didn't wrap the ball up and itl bounced off his hands before rolling slowly into the goal.
Steven Gerrard had given England the lead in the fourth minute, closing a nice four-pass sequence following a throw-in by slicing through a pair of U.S. defenders before beating U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard with a right-footed tap. Emile Heskey made the final pass to set up Gerrard's score.
England had a chance to double its lead in the 20th minute when Aaron Lennon got clear well behind the U.S. defense. But his pass from the right wing into the goalie box was broken up nicely by Steve Cherundolo.
In fact, the English had several good first-half scoring chances and it was only the good work of Howard a couple of well-timed clears by his defenders that kept the game close.
The Americans' best chance came about a minute before Dempsey's goal when Landon Donovan dribbled across the front of the goal near the edge of the penalty area before letting go a right-footed rocket that hooked left of the goal.
The U.S. nearly lost its keeper late in the first half when Heskey slid into him cleats first trying to deflect home a rebound. Howard, who appeared to hurt his left arm, writhed on the ground in obvious pain for a couple of minutes before gathering himself and remaining in the game.
-- Kevin Baxter in Rustenburg, South Africa
Photo: England keeper Robert Green blows an easy save as the U.S. gets a gift goal. Credit: Michael Sohn / Associated Press