Goalkeeper Robert Green suffered a World Cup nightmare as England were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in the opening game of their campaign against the United States.
Steven Gerrard gave coach Fabio Capello the perfect start to this South African mission when he ran onto Emile Heskey's pass to slide the ball beyond Tim Howard after only four minutes.
Thereafter England rarely hit the heights, maintaining an advantage in relative comfort until five minutes before half-time when goalkeeper Green suffered the lapse that will haunt him.
Clint Dempsey offered a hopeful effort that was aimed straight at Green from 25 yards, but as Green knelt to collect the ball he allowed the ball to squeeze around him and roll agonisingly over the line as he tried to recover.
England had some opportunities to repair the damage, but Heskey shot straight at Howard with only the keeper to beat.
Jozy Altidore almost gave the USA the lead in the 64th minute when he outpaced Jamie Carragher, but this time Green made amends for his earlier mistake by turning the angled shot on to the post and it rebounded to safety.
Both teams then ran out of ideas as they tired - the draw leaving Bob Bradley's US side to celebrate a hard-earned point.