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Villa striker Heskey blames World Cup ball for England miss

Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey has blamed the World Cup ball for his miss in England's 1-1 draw with the USA.

The England forward gave an impressive display, as Fabio Capello preferred him over Peter Crouch for England's World Cup opener, but was criticised for spurning the outstanding opportunity.

The Aston Villa striker defended himself by saying: "With my chance in the second half, the keeper (Howard) stood up quite well. I just tried to get as much power behind it as possible because these balls do move around. He has done well but he is lucky it has caught him right in the midriff but we kept plugging away and kept creating chances.

"Wazza (Wayne Rooney) had a shot which looked it was going in but at the last minute it swerved a bit and went wide. That is what these balls do."

Heskey also called for better service from his team-mates.

He said: "The final ball wasn't as good as it should have been. I think as a team we were pressing quite high up the pitch, and we got the early rewards from that, so we have to keep doing that. I just wanted to get hold of the ball, bring players into the game, and we managed to do that."

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