Preview: England vs. United States
THE BIG PICTURE
From the second Group C was drawn, this was the game everyone wanted to talk about. Everyone in the USA and England anyway. It’s almost as if Algeria and Slovenia don’t exist. The focus on this game has a mixture of historical and political reasons, as well as some very specific football reasons. All of which we’ll discuss below. The objective preview goes that despite the recent injury to captain Rio Ferdinand, England is still expected to win this Group C opener, but USA could still progress with results against Algeria and Slovenia. However, the subjective preview goes that for historical, political and cultural reasons there’s a whole extra dimension to this game. England may be favourite, but the USA are not going to make it easy for them and will be treating this game like a derby.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this game means more to Americans. The history of the USA begins with a win over England. On the battlefield instead of the football field, but still. The two nations are on much friendlier terms nowadays, but the desire to overthrow the English is arguably still there in the American DNA. Football wise, one of the USA’s most storied wins came at the 1950 World Cup, where a hastily assembled team of supposed no-hopers shocked an England team that was supposed to be the best in the world by winning 1-0. Sixty years later the disparity in talent isn’t nearly as big. But that established old world (England) vs ambitious new world (USA) dynamic is still in effect, and a victory for the USA in this game arguably represents another step forward for US Soccer. Also at stake: steak.
England: GK: James, Green, Hart; DF: Carragher, A. Cole, Dawson, Johnson, King, Terry, Upson, Warnock; MF: Barry, Carrick, J. Cole, Gerrard, Lampard, Lennon, Milner, Wright-Phillips; FW: Crouch, Defoe, Heskey, Rooney; Coach: Fabio Capello
USA: GK: Guzan, Howard, Hahnemann; DF: Bocanegra, Bornstein, Cherundolo, DeMerit, Goodson, Onyewu, Spector; MF: Beasley, Bradley, Clark, Dempsey, Donovan, Edu, Feilhaber, Holden, Torres; FW: Altidore, Buddle, Findley, Gomez; Coach: Bob Bradley
The USA’s most potent attacking player is probably Landon Donovan, who will likely start on the right wing. If he does, he’ll be up against England left back Ashley Cole, who likes to get forward a bit himself. However, Cole’s defensive skills are often underrated so the USA will arguably have more luck on the other flank where Clint Dempsey will likely be attacking the much less defensively sound Glen Johnson. Other matchups worth watching out for: Young and fast US striker Jozy Altidore vs not so young or so fast (but much more famous) England defender John Terry. Going the other way, Wayne Rooney is a class above America’s defence, though possible England targetmen Peter Crouch or Emile Heskey could find themselves on the losing end of a physical battle with big American defenders Oguchi Onyewu and Jay DeMerit.
This one’s close to my heart. I’m an England fan first, but have plenty of space in my heart for the US team. I want to say 1-1 draw, but the reality will be more like a narrow 2-1 England win after a hard fought game.
Follow the match highlights as they happen on the England v. USA LiveBlog, starting just before the match. Come by and join the discussion throughout the match.
WATCH THE MATCH
Match begins at 8pm local time (2pm EST) on ITV1 (UK) or ABC (US). Check our list of global World Cup broadcasters for other channels showing the tournament, or watch the match online.