RUSTENBURG, June 13 – England captain Steven Gerrard said goalkeeper Robert Green would recover from his howler which handed the US the equaliser in their opening match of the World Cup on Saturday.
Gerrard gave his side a dream start with a fourth minute strike at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, but England were sent back to square one when Green fumbled Clint Dempsey’s unthreatening shot five minutes from half-time.
"It was one of those freak things," Gerrard said. "I don’t think you can criticise the goalkeeper because people have been criticising the ball and the ball is sticky so we need to get behind Robert and support him and I’m sure he’ll make an important save further down the line for us."
Gerrard added: "Robert’s a man, I am sure he’ll learn from this and go from strength to strength.
"He might get a important save for us that wins us a match, so we’re all behind him."
The Liverpool midfielder said his team now needed to win their two remaining Group C games against Slovenia and Algeria to be sure of qualifying.
"The target now has got to be seven points," he said.
England coach Fabio Capello refused to point the finger of blame at the unfortunate Green, who made a good second half save from Jozy Altidore.
"He made one mistake but then pulled off a great save in the second half. I was pleased for him," said Capello.
"We had lots of chances in the game. There were a lot of positives. Just the result wasn’t positive."
United States goalkeeper Tim Howard admitted he felt for Green.
"Of course I feel for him," Howard said after collecting the man-of-the-match award for his display.
"He has made a couple of really good saves and, as we have been saying all week, this ball is doing silly things.
"Unfortunately at this level, sometimes these things are going to happen. I feel terribly for him but when you are goalkeeping you have to have broad shoulders."