Rustenburg: Despite having
nine months to fine-tune for the World Cup, a baffled Fabio
Capello still has more questions than answers over the
composition and tactics of his England lineup after it was
held to a 1-1 draw by the United States.
Capello never could have predicted Robert Green`s glaring
blunder, the goalkeeper fumbling Clint Dempsey`s shot into his
own net to gift the Americans an equalizer in the 40th minute
But Capello`s gambles to start the match with midfielder
James Milner and defender Ledley King backfired, with both
replaced by the start of the second half. A yellow card for
Milner prompted fears he could see red and leave England a man
down, while the injury-prone King went off with groin problem.
England looked disjointed, perhaps symptomatic of
Capello`s decision not to reveal the starting lineup to his
players until two hours before kickoff.
The euphoria of England`s rapid qualification has faded
and Capello, going into Friday`s second Group C match against
Algeria, still faces the same puzzles he`s been trying to
solve ever since.
"There`s a little bit more pressure," defender John Terry
said. "We conceded a goal at a bad time after going ahead - it
was a bit of a shock and setback to receive."
The equalizer, though, reignited the debate about
England`s lack of goalkeeping talent. One of the big unknowns
was who Capello would select as his World Cup keeper. Green
was the first answer, a decision the coach might reconsider.
"I decided Green would be the goalkeeper because he
played the last game very well, and at Wembley (against
Mexico), and the performance was very good, too," Capello
said. "He made one mistake, but in the second half he made a
good save. This is the problem of the goalkeeper.”
"We have to accept the mistakes of goalkeepers and of
referees and of forwards. This is football."
After taking a 1-0 lead on captain Steven Gerrard`s flick
past Tim Howard after just four minutes, the English were
unable to further exploit the porous American back line. They
were left to watch the Americans surge in confidence and hold
most of the possession.
The frustrations were manifested when Milner, initially
doubtful with a virus, was booked for tripping Steve
Cherundolo after 26 minutes. Milner lasted just four more
minutes before being replaced by Shaun Wright-Phillips.
"I substituted him because he was booked," Capello said.
"I was worried about a second booking and he (would be) sent
Uncertainty still accompanies the English. King is
expected to miss the Algeria game after being replaced by
Jamie Carragher after halftime against the Americans.
"I am not worried for the next game," Capello said. "We
ran better in the second half than the USA. But now we have to
look forward for the next game."