USA/England Tie In World Cup Opener

RUSTENBURG, South Africa (AP) - The record will show it was a

tie, but it was hardly that.

One found renewed confidence; the other will feel the heat.

The United States and England played to a 1-1 draw Saturday

night in their World Cup opener, with the Americans rallying when

Clint Dempsey scored on a blunder by goalkeeper Robert Green and

U.S. goalie Tim Howard withstood a second-half barrage by Wayne

Rooney and his celebrated teammates.

Steven Gerrard put England ahead in the fourth minute, blowing

past Ricardo Clark to beat Howard from short range. But Dempsey

tied it when Green fumbled his 25-yard shot that skipped off the

ground twice.

"I'm glad it's over, there was a lot of hype and pressure,"

Howard said. "I'm glad we put in a performance we can be proud of.

But we can't make too, too much of it."

Jozy Altidore nearly put the U.S. ahead late, but Green got a

hand on his angled shot and it deflected off the corner of the


Howard, who needed treatment in the first half when Emile Heskey

slid into his chest, saved the Americans time and again in the

second half, frustrating the famous high-priced stars he faces each

week in the Premier League.

With each save late in the game, louder chants of "U-S-A!"

erupted from Sam's Army and American Outlaws, groups who made the

long and expensive trip from home to sit among the vuvuzela-blowing

fans on a cool night in the Southern Hemisphere.

"I think when you play at the highest level and against the

best competition, it will bring the best out of you," Howard said.

England must try to regroup as it seeks its first major title

since winning the World Cup at home in 1966. The U.S., trying to

rebound from first-round elimination four years ago, got a boost as

it heads into first-round games against Slovenia on Friday and

Algeria on June 23.

While not a shocking win to match the 1-0 American upset over

England at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, the U.S. earned a huge

single point in its quest to reach the second round for the first

time since 2002.

Both sides looked tentative and nervous in the opening minutes

until England broke on top.

Gerrard scored his 17th goal in 82 appearances, bursting past

Clark. Heskey had taken Glen Johnson's throw-in and sent a through

ball to Gerrard, who flicked it past Howard.

Dempsey scored on a play very similar to the goal by Croatia's

Niko Kranjcar that went in off Scott Carson's arm and helped

eliminate England from qualifying from the 2008 European


Dempsey took several touches, spun around Gerrard and hit a

dipping left-footed shot. The ball hit the field twice, glanced off

Green's right hand and went into the net for Dempsey's 19th goal in

63 national team games. Dempsey also scored against Ghana as the

U.S. was eliminated in 2006.

"It was a difficult game," Gerrard said. "I think the

important thing in the first game is not to lose. Unfortunately

we've let a poor goal in and we couldn't go on and get the winner.

"The goal shocked us a bit. ... It took us a while to get over


(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)