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    Green blunder costs England World Cup victory


    by ODN


    England's World Cup adventure got off to a disappointing start after a goalkeeping blunder cost the team victory against the USA.

    Goalkeeper Rob Green's howler dampened spirits that prior to kick off had been sky-high.

    Roared on by thousands of fans crammed inside Rustenburg's Royal Bafokeng Stadium in South Africa and millions more watching on TV back home in packed pubs, bars and front rooms, England got off to a dream start with a goal in the opening minutes from captain Steven Gerrard.

    But England fans were quickly brought down back to earth when Green fumbled a long-range shot and watched the ball trickle over the line to hand the US an equaliser.

    The final score was 1-1.

    Rustenburg had taken on a carnival atmosphere prior to kick-off as England and USA fans thronged the streets of the mining town.

    Many came wearing fancy dress, with St George's flags as capes, and many more had acquired a vuvuzela - the plastic trumpet used by South Africans as a "12th man".

    As kick-off loomed English streets fell eerily quiet as millions gathered in bars and pubs or congregated around TV screens in their front rooms.

    Thousands chose to generate their own South African atmosphere by watching the match together. More than 15,000 filled Manchester city centre to watch the game on a giant screen.

    And thousands flocked to Alexandra Palace in north London for a similar event.