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Green joins list of blundering England goalkeepers

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Robert Green wrote his name onto the lengthening list of blundering England goalkeepers.

Green let a routine shot from Clint Dempsey slip through his grasp for the Americans' only goal in their high-profile World Cup opener, a 1-1 draw in Group C.

From David Seaman at the 2002 World Cup and Scott Carson in a Euro 2008 qualifier to several gaffes by David "Calamity" James, England has a growing reputation for producing poor goalkeepers.

Former star keepers 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."

England coach Fabio Capello said he hasn't decided whether to start Green 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," Capello said. "We have time to decide, to speak with him. Afterwards, I will decide."

Green also got sympathy from U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard, whose string of saves helped his team get a point and earned him man of the match honors.

"I feel terrible for him," the American said. "He's got broad shoulders. He'll bounce back."

England supporters are used to epic errors from their goalkeepers.

Seaman allowed a 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 led 2-0. James' habit of wildly racing out of his area has also previously been a common — and scary — sight for fans.

Paul 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, the ball bounced past him in a 3-2 loss that virtually ended England's qualifying chances.

As for Saturday's fumble, Dempsey has seen enough of them to wonder when it would be his turn to score on 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."