Steven Gerrard got England off to a fast start with his easy goal in the fourth minute, but Robert Green (pictured) flubbed a Clint Dempsey shot on forty minutes to give the Americans an equalizer. The 1-1 final score at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng gave both sides an important point, but because of the circumstances surrounding Dempsey’s goal, England will surely feel like they lost the game. Jozy Altidore had a wonderful chance to put the Americans ahead in the second half but Green redeemed himself by forcing the shot off the post and saving the draw. England pushed for a late winner with Wayne Rooney finding his game in the final half-hour, but Tim Howard was up to the job each time. Ultimately a point for each is a good result. Both will be favored in games against Slovenia and Algeria, so sharing points on the first day of Group C can be counted as not failure.
Elsewhere, Argentina made a Gabriel Heinze header last in a 1-0 win over Nigeria at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Heinze’s sixth minute header was somehow the only goal scored in a first half dominated by Argentina. Lionel Messi had three shots saved by Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama but dominated possession throughout. Diego Maradona’s side looked infinitely better than they had in qualifying as they dismantled the Nigerians. The Super Eagles were much better in the second half with the inclusion of Peter Odemwingie and Obafemi Martins but it was Taye Taiwo who came closest to an equalizer. In the end, Argentina slide into second place behind South Korea in Group B with Greece and Nigeria empty on points and indeed, goals.