The curse of the England goalkeeper

After witnessing yet another England goalkeeping error against the United States, this time courtesy of Robert Green, you would be forgiven for thinking the Three Lions’ No 1 jersey is cursed. Here, A Different League takes a look at goalkeeping performances which have blighted England games in the past.

David James vs. Austria – 2004
England took on Austria in Vienna in a qualifier for the 2006 World Cup. The game was midway through the second half and England appeared to have the points in the bag and were holding a 2-0 lead. Austria then shattered England’s hopes of three points as they managed two goals in as many minutes. The second came as David James let Andreas Ivanschitz shot slip through his arms, showing why his nickname was ‘Calamity James’.

David Seaman vs. Brazil – 2002
In 2002, England had genuine hopes of winning the tournament. It seemed the ‘golden generation’ were finally ready to justify the tag. Beckham-mania gripped Japan and South Korea, and so the team had plenty of support. In the quarter-final, the Three Lions came up against a strong Brazil side but in the second-half, a speculative Ronaldinho free kick was floated in which David Seaman just did not jump for. It floated over the England goalkeeper and into the top corner of the net. Did Ronaldinho mean it? Who knows, but the goal was vital and helped Brazil on their way to winning their fifth World Cup.

Paul Robinson vs. Croatia – 2006
These were optimistic times for England – Sven Goran-Eriksson had left, Steve McClaren was in charge and Paul Robinson stood between the sticks. England were a goal down and playing poorly, then a Gary Neville back pass took an awkward bounce which took it over the goalkeeper’s boot. The pace on the ball left Robinson red-faced as he chased the ball into an empty net. Sadly, this was not the only goalkeeping error during an unsuccessful campaign.

Scott Carson vs. Croatia – 2007
England needed a win to qualify for the 2008 European Championships. After a less than impressive qualifying campaign, England welcomed Croatia to Wembley, and then the visitors took an early lead as Scott Carson fumbled Niko Krancjar’s long range effort into the net. England could not recover and eventually lost and failed to qualify as McClaren stood under his umbrella and watched as his England tenure came to an end.

Peter Bonetti vs. West Germany – 1970
Finally, the 1970 World Cup. Gordon Banks had made arguably the best save in the history of the game earlier in the tournament against Brazil, and then suffered from a bout of sickness which ruled him out of the quarter-final. Peter Bonetti stepped in and played well for the best part of an hour. Then, Franz Beckenbauer took a shot from just outside the area and the former Chelsea man failed to deal with it. It was the beginning of the German comeback as they got revenge for the final four years before and knocked England out.


Related posts

Leave a Comment