England’s Sunday newspapers blamed the goalkeeping error by West Ham’s Robert Green for the country’s poor start in the World Cup in South Africa.
“Rob still too Green for England,” the News of the World wrote after the keeper’s fumble allowed the U.S. to salvage a point against England in Rustenburg on Saturday.
The Sunday Times compared the gaffe to the BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, saying it was “one disastrous spill the Yanks won’t complain about.”
The Sunday Mirror made a pun on the national anthem “God Save the Queen,” turning it into “God Save the Green.” The Daily Star said England was “Rob-bed of the points,” and added the keeper to England’s goalkeeping Hall of Horrors.
Green appeared to have the ball covered when Clint Dempsey shot at goal from 25 metres. But it glanced off his gloves and spun behind him over the line as he desperately grasped after it.
Coach Fabio Capello admitted that he may decide to replace Green for the second Group C match against Algeria on Friday.
“We have time to decide,” he said, “time to speak with him, and after that I will decide.”
England captain Steven Gerrard said the team stood behind the keeper, who was selected by Capello over the more experienced David James. The goal was “one of these freak things,” he said.
Green also got support from his U.S. opposite number Tim Howard, whose standout performance kept England’s forwards at bay and earned him the man-of-the-match award in the 1-1 draw.
“As we’ve said all week long, this ball’s doing silly things,” said Howard, echoing the criticism of the Jabulani ball.
“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.”
Keywords: 2010 FIFA World Cup