England V USA Preview: Saturday, 12th June (Group C)

10th June 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Previews & Predictions
World Cup Previews & Predictions

 

England V USA

Kick-off: Saturday, 12th June – 19:30 GMT
Stadium: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg
Referee: Carlos Simon (Brazil)
Group C

 

England

England fans need little reminding that their one and only previous triumph at a World Cup was on home soil way back in 1966. A iconic year in the eyes of many England followers. At the 2010 finals in South Africa, the Three Lions will head into yet another World Cup with the same expectant attitude, with anything less than a final appearance likely to be deemed a failure by the English media. So with all this pressure, the weight of a nation dreaming of World Cup success for just the second time bearing down on them, is it healthy to be expecting so much from a nation which has never coped well under pressure?

Fabio Capello’s men kick-off their campaign against the United States in Rustenburg on Saturday, June 12th, with the sole aim of bringing home three points thus setting them up nicely for a comfortable ride through to the knock-outs. Their Group couldn’t have been any easier in fairness, with only their opponents on Saturday likely to pose any sort of problems. However, that could all change should our Three Lions lose their roar in Rustenburg and not come away with all the spoils. On paper, even Saturday’s encounter should be plain sailing even though they’re up against a United States team which surprised everyone with their trip to the final of the FIFA Confederations Cup last year, dashing Spain’s 35 game unbeaten run along the way.

You would be forgiven for claiming England have a far better player in every single position that the United States, and you would be correct. That makes dropping any points on Saturday even more disastrous, calamitous in fact. But with England it’s never simple even though it should be.  We have the problem of who will start in goal, will it be Jamies Carragher or Ledley King playing alongside John Terry at centre-half and who will play Rooney’s side-kick up front. All of these issues should have been resolved weeks ago, and perhaps they have behind closed doors, but it’s this uncertainty which is leading to doubts and what has partly led to some pretty shambolic international displays during their preparation period before the finals.

In all three of England’s warm up games, not once did we see some natural chemistry of link-up play. We’re still playing as individuals instead of coming together as a team and this is largely down to our own bad luck with injuries. Without one of the most composed centre-backs in the game in Rio Ferdinand we’re vulnerable in defence and the absence of Gareth Barry means we’re unbalanced now that Steven Gerrard has slotted back into the middle of the park with Frank Lampard. We know this can’t be helped but it appears Lady Luck, who has always been against us in previous finals, still isn’t siding with the Three Lions. We were showing some real togetherness during qualifying that has been missing from the England national team for years, but these latest injury setbacks have done just that, sent us back to the stone age where England forget how to play as a team and struggle to carve out opportunities. We’re concerned, although an impressive display against the USA on Saturday would change our mindset completely.

 

USA

The United States went as far as the semi-final way back in 1930 in what was then the inaugural World Cup. Since then, however, USA have performed to a lousy standard at recent finals and in the 9 finals they’ve competed in, only three times have they qualified from their group. When the draw for South Africa 2010 was made, the United States were delighted with their group, with not only the glorious opportunity to make the knock-outs encouraging the nation to get behind their team but the chance to get one over on the English, who in just about every other sport are inferior to the US.

The one and only occasion the USA recorded a win over England in a World Cup encounter was 60 years ago in Brazil, when the United States etched out a 1-0 victory in the 1950’s finals. Go forward over half-a-century and a similar result would reverberate around South Africa, with Bob Bradley’s not fancied to get a whole lot out of their Group C opener with Fabio Capello’s Three Lions in Rustenburg.

Bradley masterminded USA’s safe passage through qualifying, finishing top of the CONCAFAF table, topping the likes of Mexico and Honduras, of whom both are participants in the 2010 finals. However, it’s common knowledge that football up in the Northern hemisphere isn’t at the same level or standard as that down further south, and that no North American country has ever lifted the FIFA World Cup. The United States did, however, come within touching distance of lifting last years Confederations Cup only to be denied by a second half Brazilian surge, after previously taking a 2-0 lead into half-time. Many of the 100,000+ USA supporters in South Africa are clinging onto their inspirational performance during what is the World Cup prep tournament for dear life, praying it will serve them will and provide the United States team with a springboard to further success in South Africa.

The main characteristics with this current United States crop is their self-belief and their industrious mannerism on the field. Very rarely will a USA team turn up for a match, especially those against the elite nations, and put in a lazy performance. This especially has been the case under coach Bob Bradley, who has instilled some hard-working qualities into this USA team and it has served them well recently, more notably at the Confederations Cup last year. They are, though, a tad lightweight at the back in terms of calm and composed defenders, defenders which are smart enough to spot the oncoming runs and quell the attacks. You don’t really get that with this USA team, and whole their organisation is often second to none, they are susceptible to capitulating if they concede early on.

Bradley tried to go with a 4-3-3 formation in the pre-World Cup friendlies, although that didn’t really work out in the early part. Against England, Bradley will probably set his team up in a more defensive formation. The bulky figure of Jozy Altidore will play the role of the forlorn striker, with Fulham’s Clint Dempsey and former Everton loanee Landon Donovan with the onrushing support. It’s likely to be something in the shape of a 4-5-1 formation, with the idea being to keep the game stalemate for as long as possible, whilst looking to snatch a goal on the counter or from a set-piece.

 

Match Odds:

England – 1.53 PaddyPower
Draw – 4.30 VCbet
USA – 7.50 WilliamHill

 

Our Prediction: England to WIN – 1.53 PaddyPower

While we have sided with England, it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that the United States will grab a share of the spoils in Rustenburg. The US will look to rattle England’s cage right from the start, harassing whoever is on the ball and allowing none of the England players to settle when in possession. They are a hard-working bunch of lads these Americans, relentless in how they go about their business and it will be intriguing to see if England have the answers to unlock what is likely to be an organised and well-drilled USA defence.

In Wayne Rooney, we feel England do have the answers and if the Man Utd forward can fire England towards their first set of three points, it may be the platform for the rest of the team to grow in stature and confidence. The first game is always going to be nervy, perhaps doubly more so for England as the pressure on them is enormous, so it may well take a scrappy and ugly win in order to get the Three Lions in the swing of things. However, we don’t rate this American defence in the slightest and while Bob Bradley will try  his utmost to ensure the United States defence as resolute as possible and ready for the test of England, there just aren’t enough wide-old heads at the back to thwart the likes of Rooney, Lampard and Gerrard for the full 90 minutes.

Our Recommended Bet: England -1.25 (Asian Handicap) – 2.10 Bet365




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