A surprising mistake by English goalkeeper Robert Green resulted in a draw between the US and England in their match on Saturday. Earlier, Argentina and South Korea both picked up wins.
Green's blunder let Team USA back into the game
A hard-fought match between group C favorites England and the United States ended in a 1-1 draw in Rustenburg at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday evening.
Steven Gerrard gave England an early lead after flicking a goal home from inside the penalty area four minutes after the opening whistle.
Gerrard's goal was England's highlight on the night
The shock of the night came when team USA was literally given the equalizer by England keeper Robert Green. The 29-year-old let a routine drive by Clint Dempsey slip through his hands and into the net in the 40th minute.
Green made no excuses for his mistake after the match.
"I just have to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said. You know, you have a few hardships in life. I've made mistakes before. I'm strong enough to get through this. The ball is no excuse."
It was a shattering moment for England manager Fabio Capello who had gambled in giving Green only his ninth start for England.
But Capello refused to lay the blame on Green."He made one mistake but then pulled off a great save in the second half. I was pleased for him," said the Italian.
"We had lots of chances in the game. There were a lot of positives. Just the result wasn't positive."
USA coach Bob Bradley, on the other hand, had reasons to be cheerful.
"It was a great team effort to come back and equalize. At halftime we said we had a chance to win and at the end we took a point," he said.
England's next outing is against the Algerians in Cape Town on June 18, the same day the US face Slovenia.
In the afternoon game at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, Group B favorites Argentina used a whole lot of offense to produce but one goal, which was enough to slip past a scrappy Nigeria 1-0.
Heinze's early header was enough for Argentina
The goal came early and in the form of a diving header from 12 yards out by Gabriel Heinze, on a corner taken by Juan Sebastian Veron.
Argentina showed explosive offense throughout the match, with world footballer of the year Lionel Messi forcing a series of flying saves from Nigerian keeper Vincent Enyeama in both halves.
For his efforts, and though his team lost, Enyeama was named man of the match.
In the first matchup on Saturday, South Korea comfortably brushed aside Greece in the opening Group B game with a 2-0 victory.
South Korea dominated a lackluster Greece on Saturday
Lee Jung-soo opened the scoring on Saturday at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium with an unchecked goal in the seventh minute. Captain Park Ji-sung doubled the lead at the beginning of the second half with a slick solo goal.
Greece's first clear offensive push came only late in the second half, with striker Theofanis Gekas failing to convert a chance with 10 minutes remaining.
Author: Gabriel Borrud, Nicole Goebel (AP/dpa, Reuters)
Editor: Kyle James