For years, the tabloid newspapers in England have been renowned for overhyping the expectations of England’s chances in the World Cup. Those wheels have already been set in motion and now The Sun newspaper, which has a daily readership of 7.9 million, have declared that England’s group — which includes the United States — will be easy.
Personally, I find that these type of headlines and news stories are condescending and disrespectful to the players and supporters of the other countries in the group, namely the United States of America, Slovenia and Algeria.
I am here to tell you that I honestly believe England are going to have a much tougher time in this group than they and the media believe. The US, as we all know, won’t be a pushover. The biggest struggle with the United States team will be which one shows up. They’re very much a Jekyll and Hyde team, but they have been known to turn up for the big games where they are the underdogs (even though Alexi Lalas doesn’t believe the United States is an underdog in this game, believe it or not).
The reality with England is that they often begin slowly in the World Cup. Take a look at their results from their opening game of the previous World Cups from the past 20 years:
- 2006: England 1-0 Paraguay
- 2002: England 1-1 Sweden
- 1998: England 2-0 Tunisia
- 1990: England 1-1 Republic of Ireland
- 1986: England 0-1 Portugal
While I believe that England will advance from Group C, they’re going to have a difficult time. While the United States, Algeria and Slovenia are not better footballing sides, these are three very passionate countries where their players and supporters will be fired up and hoping to “slay the dragon” by either beating or drawing England. These three teams will definitely be no walkover for England.
There’s a lot of time between now and the World Cup so the odds of teams doing well can change so much based on injuries and other scandals between now and June. But right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if the United States could get a draw against England especially if the US side can play as well as we know they can. England typically start tournaments slowly and based on the media hype being generated in England about how easy the group is, this is will definitely get the US players fired up and give them a better chance of achieving victory on June 12, 2010 in South Africa.
Thanks to SportsByBrooks for The Sun cover image.