“Hand of clod”, the wrong type of ball or simply an inexcusable mistake? That was the debate raging among millions of England fans yesterday as they watched endless slow motion replays of the moment Robert Green allowed America to even the score during their first match of the World Cup.
As dawn broke over the team's camp in Rustenburg, the West Ham keeper was forced to contend with a more gloomy predicament: becoming a tabloid target, a punching bag for England fans' frustrations and an all-American hero — all in one night.
Green took to the golf green yesterday following his blunder against the USA. The 30-year-old looked to be in good spirits, laughing and joking with some of his team-mates.
He said: “I know I'm going to get flak for it, but so be it. Playing football when you are playing well is easy. It is about the tough times and how you deal with them. That is what you prepare for mentally.
“I'm strong enough to take it, strong enough to move on, and will do, and be ready for the next game if selected.”
Speculation is rife over whether the keeper's failure to stop Clint Dempsey's strike will lead to his removal as first keeper of choice.
Fabio Capello may have come to his keeper's defence but the England boss remained silent on whether he would still be chosen for England's game against Algeria on Friday.
Meanwhile, Adidas defended criticism of its World Cup ball. The “Jabulani” ball, named after the Zulu word for “celebration”, is by no means popular among keepers, with some complaining it is difficult to predict.