So after all the waiting and all the build up to the World Cup England kicked off their first game against the USA in Group C. 44,026 piled into the Rustenburg and they saw England get off to a confident start which saw them take the lead after just four minutes. Emile Heskey threaded a ball into the path of captain Steve Gerrard who flicked the ball past the advancing goalkeeper Tim Howard to raise the nation's hopes that this would give England the perfect platform to go on and record a convincing win.
In a further attack Heskey clattered into a stunned Howard chasing a 50-50 ball which resulted in the Everton keeper needing lenghty treatment to be able to continue. James Milner got himself foolishly booked for persistent fouling. This alerted manager Fabio Capello to substitute the Aston Villa player and introduce Shaun Wright-Phillips in his place fearing being down to 10 men for such a long period.
A shock elementary mistake by England goalkeeper Robert Green gifted USA a goal right out of the blue. Clint Dempsey hit a fairly tame effort on goal but Green failed to get his body fully behind the ball and spilled it. His outstretched hand was too little to late as the shocked keeper could only watch with horror as the ball had enough pace on it to roll into the net. It was hard to believe such a routine 40th minute error could prove so costly and happen to such an experienced goalkeeper.
There was still time in that first half for Glen Johnson to try a shot on goal following a great run. Honours even then at half time and the millions of television viewers were hoping for better things in the second half. Capello was forced into making another change as Ledley King was forced out of the action due to a groin problem and could now miss the rest of the competition. Jamie Carragher took his place.
Frank Lampard was unlucky with one goal bound effort that Howard tipped over the bar. Green made a brilliant stop tipping a certain goal onto the bar to go some way to rectify his earlier mistake but it was up to the other players now to go more direct and win the game. Aaron Lennon was getting crosses in but wasted a few, either crossing low behind the line of the front two or floating over high balls and was so fustrating. Peter Crouch was thrown on as a last throw of the dice instead of the hard-working Heskey but a further goal would not come. So a shock draw for the USA and England have made it a bit more tricky for themselves by not obtaining the three points but should be good enough over the next two games to qualify to the knock out stage-surely?