Rob Green’s horror night against USA with apology, dig and abuse

Maguire opens up on criticism ahead of England v USA at World Cup

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As England prepare to lock horns with USA tonight, it’s time to wind the clock back. The last time they met at the World Cup was back in 2010, at a time where Fabio Capello was manager, James Corden and Dizzee Rascal had teamed up release a song and David Cameron had just replaced Gordon Brown to become Prime Minister. The game ended in a 1-1 draw and Rob Green made the headlines for all the wrong reasons in South Africa…

England had gone into their World Cup clash with USA as one of the favourites to lift the golden trophy, especially after a superb qualification campaign that saw them win all of their match 10 matches.

And things got off to a perfect start when Steven Gerrard fired them ahead with just four minutes on the clock.

Unfortunately, however, that would be as good as it got for the Three Lions. Clint Dempsey drew USA level in the 40th minute but it was Green’s fault, with the goalkeeper allowing the ball to squirm under his body and into the net.

It was a horrendous mistake, one England were never able to recover from. Any confidence from qualifying evaporated, fading into the South African smog.

In the direct aftermath of the contest, Green insisted he could bounce back – insisting he’d apologised to players inside the dressing room.

“I’m sure there’s 50 odd million people disappointed with me, but I’ll come back, work hard and it won’t affect me,” he said.

“At half time I walked in, apologised to the lads and moved on.

“It hit the outside of one of my thumbs, do that again 1000 times and I will save 999.

“It is something that has happened in life, you accept it, move on and keep working. I want to carry on playing and I want to stand up and represent my country.

“You don’t prepare for making a great save, you don’t prepare mentally for having a perfect game, you prepare for making mistakes and it is bouncing back from those mistakes which is the important part.

“Thankfully in the next 50 minutes of the game I did that.”

Capello would respond by doing his best to play down the incident. He said: “Sometimes a forward misses, sometimes a keeper makes a mistake – that’s football.

“The second half he (Green) played very well, but the mistake remains a mistake.”

One thing that would later emerge was that Capello had only told his England players who would be starting just two hours before kick-off.

Speaking in 2018, when asked about his manager’s decision-making, Green dug out his old boss by saying: “A night or two’s (notice) at least would have been nice.

“I can’t remember (having) any specific conversations with David (James) but a lot of the time was spent just shrugging your shoulders.

“It’s all ifs, buts and maybes as to whether the mistake was a product of the situation I found myself in but it was a unique scenario where we were probably the only team in the tournament who couldn’t name our starting 11 and the first name on the list – the goalkeeper – was the biggest question mark of all.

“I think it’s more the build up to that moment than the actual two hours before kick-off. It’s the posturing for weeks beforehand that is the more difficult bit to deal with.

“You don’t know what all the wondering and nervous energy does to you mentally but the preparation is never going to be as good compared to when you are in a settled scenario.”

Green would go on to have a good career before hanging up his boots in 2019, shortly after Chelsea won the Europa League.

And, ahead of England’s match with USA today, he spoke out about the harassment he received after his error – with family and friends targeted as well.

“The mistake itself wasn’t as big a deal for me as it was for everyone else,” he said. “How it was over-sensationalised in the media.

“I was disappointed in how my friends and family were treated. It was one of the few games my parents missed, they were flying out to the World Cup later.

“They went out for a walk one day and got a message saying: ‘Don’t come home, you can’t get in, your house is surrounded,’ I had friends who were harassed at work. These were just people going about their everyday lives.

“Social media was not as big as it is now. You could switch your phone off and get away from it all. It’s a very, very different existence now.

“But if one of the lads makes a mistake in Qatar, the way the world works now, it will be over a lot quicker.

“Everyone sees every game, it will get brought up, but people move on really quickly.

“For me, it was something that I lived with and moved on. Since retiring, it is not something that’s lingered in my past.

“It is something that happened in a game of football. Everyone in their careers tries to do the best they can and, sometimes, things happen – but that’s life.”

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