2010 World Cup: Bad Omen? American Leads World Team Past England at Soccer Aid
An American has beaten England already.
In the third Soccer Aid pro-am football match Sunday night at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, American actor Woody Harrelson won the match over England for the "Rest of the World" team with a penalty kick. The World team won 7-6 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw in regulation.
Soccer Aid, a now-biennial event in its third iteration, is the brain child of British singer Robbie Williams. It supports the United Kingdom branch of UNICEF.
Each team has six legendary footballers and a host of celebrities.
Among the legends of the England side, who won the first two editions of Soccer Aid, were Alan Shearer, Martin Keown, and Jamie Redknapp. They were coached by Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp.
Among the English celebrities, including team captain Williams, were boxer Ricky Hatton; actors Bradley Walsh, Damian Lewis, and Dominic Cooper; and X-Factor finalist Olly Murs.
The legends on the World team included French footballer Zinedine Zidane, Welsh footballer and Manchester United hero Ryan Giggs, and German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann. The team was coached by Scottish manager Kenny Dalglish.
Among the celebrities for the World were Welsh boxer Joe Calzaghe; Welsh actor Michael Sheen (who captained the squad); Scottish celebrity chef and Hell's Kitchen don Gordon Ramsay; Austrialian actor Simon Baker, best known for the title role in the U.S. crime drama The Mentalist ; Nicky Byrne and Shane Filan of the Irish boy band Westlife; and two high-profile North American actors: Canadian Mike Myers and American Woody Harrelson.
The first half was largely uneventful until Jamie Redknapp scored the first goal for England during stoppage time. Teddy Sheringham followed up at 61' with a goal of his own.
The World team answered back, with Joe Calzaghe scoring at 64'. They drew level at 78' with a goal from Finnish defender Sami Hyppia.
This led to a penalty shootout following the regulation draw.
It remained 2-2 after the compulsory first five, and England and the World team exchanged the next four goals. Damian Lewis, Olly Murs, Ricky Hatton, and Bradley Walsh were answered, respectively, by Joe Calzaghe, Michael Sheen, Patrick Kielty, and Mike Myers, bringing the score to 6-6 through nine tries.
A miss by Dominic Cooper, hitting the cross bar and going over, gave Simon Baker a shot to win it for the World team, but he booted it straight ahead into the gut of English keeper Jamie Theakston. Theakston took the next shot for England, but sailed it high and wide right.
This brought up American actor Woody Harrelson. After some pointers from Mike Myers, he took his shot, pushing it into the goal to Theakston's left, who guessed wrong and dove to his right.
The ITV presenters wondered if that was an omen for the World Cup group stage match this Saturday in South Africa between England and the United States.
The event raised £2.6 million (about US $3.75 million) for UNICEF UK during its telecast.
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