Prediction: England Will Beat the U.S. in World Cup

David Beckham (3rd R) runs with the England squad during a World Cup soccer training session at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus near Rustenburg, June 8, 2010.  REUTERS/Darren Staples  (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

World Cup fever has got it’s abnormal hold on my mind, body and soul this week as Friday’s opening match approaches like a cold sweat in the night, (if only World Cup fever was an adequate excuse to get out of work). Having awoke the previous two nights contemplating tactics and potential match ups for the England v USA game, I remain tired but at least ready to make a concrete prediction that England will win the match 2-0, better make that 3-0 if Bob Bradley starts Oguchi Onyewu.

With the dust starting to settle from all the hyped-up talk, (seriously do any of the English journos think England have a reasonable shot to even make the quarter finals?) deceiving but necessary friendlies, and pre-tournament injuries, my middle of the night analysis points to England’s ability to commit players forward, dominate the midfield, score goals when they’re not at their best and their ability to defend the United States’ counter attacking formation which will allow England to exploit the advantage they have of simply being better at every position.

I think and hope the US will advance out of this group and in fact hope they go quite far. However, I remain convinced that there are questions at the back that will prevent the US from keeping clean sheets in matches where one goal could be enough to face elimination. Also, in order to progress, Bob Bradley will have to pair striker Jozy Altidore up front with another central striker, possibly the in-form, but untested on a major international stage Edson Buddle. The space the US concedes from midfield if they place a second striker up front will allow games to become more open and free flowing thus exploiting the weakness the US has at the back, which is either Onyewu’s inclusion, or a back four that lacks cohesion. I’d be surprised if Bradley picks the aforementioned Onyewu to start v England. If that man is anywhere near match fit, then I’m Bozo the Clown.

I also get the distinct and worrisome idea that Bob Bradley isn’t quite sure who his best XI are. Take for instance a recent friendly between the US and Turkey. In the first half, the US looked like their old self conceding chance after chance to the semi final squad of Euro 2008, Turkey. In the 46th minute when Bob Bradley substituted the more attacking full back Steve Cherundolo and playmaker Jose Francisco Torres, two quality players not likely to start, for defensive minded Jonathon Spector and Ricardo Clark respectively, the US were a changed team with more fluid movement forward resulting in a sense of purpose and ultimately two goals, one a match winner.

As much as the USMNT has the fitness, strength and heart to give England fits, the US players give up skill, touch and finishing abilities to that of the English players. England will win against the US and the US will probably still advance to the round of 16 and hopefully further. A recent article stated the US fans need to beat England at all costs. I say to US Soccer fans as well, forget this obsessive idea in beating England and focus on getting out of the group, a more important goal than a one off game against a squad poised to go deep in this tournament.

England will win this match because they’re simply better in every position. England attack far more decisively and with pace. They’ve got far more depth coming off the bench with players such as Joe Cole, James Milner and Jermain Defoe. England also posses the ability to add important width to the pitch when right back Glen Johnson moves forward in support. In midfield, Aaron Lennon in all his brilliant pace can cause serious problems for a slow defence who sit back waiting to counter. England have two of the best attacking and versatile midfielders in this tournament in Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard and they’ll also continue to be dangerous from set pieces where goal scoring threats can come from a myriad of England players.

Regardless of who partners Rooney, if he plays up front alone, or just behind a central striker, England’s experience in big matches, more specifically their brilliant World Cup qualifying campaign under Fabio Capello will give them the confidence to brush past the US on way to a long World Cup run.

106 thoughts on “Prediction: England Will Beat the U.S. in World Cup”

  1. I’ll concede to the fact that player-for-player England has the advantage. But to think that the U.S. won’t even score a goal on England’s questionable back line is absurd. The U.S. have a very strong midfield that consists of dangerous players that have beaten the very same players they’ll be playing against on June 12th in club competition – (namely Dempsey and Donovan).

    Onyewu had an inspiring performance in the second-half of the Australia game and I’m surprised you didn’t mention the obvious defensive weaknesses England has going into this match. You’re now down to your third captain losing a leader and speediest defender (Ferdinand) just a week before playing a counter-attack team(USA); and England has yet to settle on a starting goalkeeper. Keeper/defense communication is extremely important and may well cost England a goal on Saturday.

    1. Ultimately we’ll all have to just wait and see what happens on Saturday, but I’m unsure that England’s back line is in fact questionable.

      King and Terry in the center will be solid and Cole and Johnson possess the pace to get back in defense when needed. As an England fan, I go into this Cup with no real ??? over the backline, even without Ferdinand.

      Maybe I’m being too naive

      1. King looked lost against Mexico. Off the ball runs by salcido/dos santos/vela he couldn’t mark them, they were running through England’s back line at will. Mexico hit the post once or twice, England was lucky the scoreline wasn’t the opposite b/c King played terribly.

        1. So how well did the American defence play in the 4-2 defeat against the Czech Republic? King’s a phenomenal player, underestimate him at your peril.

          1. What exactly does this say about the England back line?

            Oh, right, nothing. If the two defenses attacked each other, it might be relevant, but not sure that’s the way the match will unfold.

  2. We get it, Jesse. You are a fan of the England team and all things English.

    However, I do agree with several of the points you have made here: Onyewu is clearly not match fit and should not start. Torres is a much more effective player than Rico Clark, yet Bradley sees something in Rico the rest of us don’t.

    One other point, you are absolutely incorrect about Cherundolo. He was always going to be the starting right back. It means nothing that he subbed in against Turkey.

    England has more talent and experience. We all know that. They are also incredibly overrated and not a very cohesive bunch. I look forward to seeing the US exploit England on the wings as I don’t see a single England player outside of the centerbacks who are committed to defending. Johnson and Cole will rush forward at every opportunity, leaving the team exposed. It may not kill them against the US, but it will eventually.

    2-2 draw.

    1. Fair enough on the point about Cherundolo – and I’m glad to hear it. Definitely a quality player who has a lot of experience that will benefit the US.

      However, in regards to your point about the full-backs bombing forward and leaving the center backs exposed, I simply don’t see a Capello-led team being caught out that tactically naive. They support the attacks, make no doubt about it. But not at the expense of the entire back line. Watch this weekend that when they do, cover from midfield will fall back when needed to prevent this from happening.

      When Gareth Barry returns to the lineup, he’ll slot into that defensive midfield role and provide cover for the back 2.

      1. Well, we’ll see, Jesse. I am a Liverpool fan and watched Johnson throughout the season constantly bomb forward and leave his wing exposed. I really don’t understand why he doesn’t just play on the left wing and leave the defending to someone else. Barry may provide the cover when he gets back, but he isn’t playing against the US. Good luck getting Lampard or Gerrard to cover for his runs.

        1. More specifically, I can’t figure out why Capello bothers playing Johnson? King, Terry, and Cole compare favourably with all but a few squads but Johnson is completely lost on any transition balls. This will only be compounded without Barry to mask Johnson’s occasional space cadet status.

        2. I think English fans can be worried about Johnson’s leaving the right wing exposed. This won’t happen against the US: Bocanegra, the US left back, will defend Johnson, but he won’t be exposing Johnson being out of position. Boca is not quick and tends to stay at home. If Bornstein was starting, then Johnson’s lack of positioning might be exposed–except that Johnson would be in the offensive third so often, because of Bornstein’s horrid defending, that he would rarely need to drop back into defense.

          Overall, as a US fan, I would feel far better about this contest if Boca, Gooch, and DeMerit were healthy, and if Spector was playing as he did in 2008. I would like to see Bob start Gooch, give him 45 mins at full spend; at half, if the score is tied, the English may be desperate, when a combination of a fresh Goodsen and Torres, whose positioning can help integrate Goodsen into defense and help spring counters, could be helpful.

  3. I’m with you Jesse, it will be a win for England, 3-1 I think. I think the americans have some decent players but after watching a few of their games i think their defence is very weak. They will need to try and score more goals than their opponents and I don’t see them doing that against the better teams.
    I think the U.S will score but I don’t see their defence stopping the english attack.

    Johnson Terry King A Cole
    Lennon Gerrard Lampard J Cole
    Rooney Heskey

    That’s far too good for the U.S.

    1. Why do I get the dreadful feeling that England’s best keeper, Joe Hart will spend this tournament on the bench?

      That’s not a bad lineup, however it will be interesting throughout the next month to see how Capello changes it up when Barry returns and don’t forget about Peter Crouch’s goal scoring record for England.

      I fancy Rooney slotting in behind Crouch as well.

    2. That’s so typical. England will just defend the hell out of the other side and then pray for a penalty kick winner. I don’t think this team has much of an attack other than scoring off dead-ball situations.

  4. I agree with SoaP. No clean sheet for Engerland. US will score first (Jozy?) and we’ll all be fired-up. But reality will settle in and the Brits will score a pair in the second half to win 2-1. 3-1 wouldn’t shock me. Rooney nets at least one.

    In my heart I hope we pull off a Portugal-in-2002 stunner, but England is too experienced to completely crap the bed.

  5. They’ve got far more depth coming off the bench with players such as Joe Cole, James Milner and Jermain Defoe.

    Of those three, only Cole has ever had any international success, as opposed to some of the options coming off the US bench. Johnathan Bornstein who comes off the US bench once shut down the great Leo Messi for 90 minutes, and Benny Feilhaber scored the winning goal of a Continental Championship, the Gold Cup. DaMarcus Beasley has started in two World Cups and has more UEFA Champions League goals than anyone on England’s bench save Joe Cole.

    England will win this match because they’re simply better in every position.

    I disagree with this assumption, but let’s suspend my opinion for a minute and assume this is true. The World Cup opener is not a club match or won on paper. We’ve seen Senegal shock France, and Angola almost beat Portugal in recent World Cups. We’ve watched as perceived minnows with a point to prove and a nation’s honor to defend step up in a big way. That is the World Cup, and England has repeatedly failed to test to punch at or above their weight in a big tournament.

    I also get the distinct and worrisome idea that Bob Bradley isn’t quite sure who his best XI are.

    He knows his best XI. He just does not know his most cohesive best XI. England managers who past and present simply trot out the best XI names in their consistent international failures would be wise to learn from his example.

    One quick counter point to your argument. The US counter attacking formation struggles against side that either cede possession in the midfield or have good technical midfielders and defenders. England right now has a penchant to cough the ball up deep in its own end, which against this particular US team could be a disaster. Capello has never managed in an international tournament and England last faced a 2010 World Cup qualifer in a competitive match in 2006. Simply put, their form in friendlies has been an accurate reflection of the team. Capable of winning against decent opposition at home or close to home but struggling to create any flow in their attack and susceptible to athleticism and speed in the midfield.

    1. Couple points. In regards to the US setting up to counter attack, (see under the Spain victory last summer) they tend to succeed with this against teams, well, like Spain, who are quicker and more technical (also shorter and more slight) than a bigger team like England.

      The reason for this is that they’ll simply clog up the midfield and force these such teams out wide. Not a bad idea against a short team like Spain where the US will tower over the Spanish to clear out crosses from the wings and counter out themselves.

      This won’t work as well with a bigger and more physical team such as England who will score off wing play and crosses into the box. The US have a far better record against fellow CONCACAF and smaller more technical European sides as opposed to bigger and more physical European sides like England, the Czech Republic and Germany.

      Sure, on paper England should win which means the US of course have a chance to upset. But the fact that World Cup openers don’t often follow scripts and produce odd upsets is only coupled with the fact that the majority of the time, the better team holds court and wins.

      For every Senegal/France and Angola/Portugal, there’s a US/Czech Republic or Argentina/Serb-Mont.

    2. Yet surely Kartik, if we’re using friendlies as an accurate reflection, USA this year have lost to Honduras 3-1 (38th), the Netherlands 2-1 (4th) and the Czech Republic 4-2 (33rd). A last minute winner helped them beat those giants of world football, El Salvador in February. What does that say about the USA team? In my opinon nothing.

      England have beaten Mexico 3-1 (17th), Japan 2-1 (45th) and Egypt 3-1 (12th) without playing well and Mexico have since beaten Italy. England became the first team to beat Croatia at home for 14 years, though 4-1 was more of spanking than a victory.

      As for players who have marked Messi out of a game, surely that was a friendly? I doubt a competitive match would have seen the same result.

      Friendly matches mean nothing, a half strength China side beat France on Friday, so does that mean they’re one of the best sides in the world? Of course it doesn’t.

      I just hope for you Lampard doesn’t have a great game, rather than his usual good one on Saturday as I know you are his biggest fan. 😉

      1. I believe that Kartik is referring to 2007 Copa America where Bornstein had quite a beautiful game. But lots have marked Messi out of matches just not that many when he has been with Barca.

    3. Boy, didn’t think I’d see Kartik becoming a US fanboy at this world Cup. Maybe it is loyalty to Bradley, but I just don’t see why some of what you are saying is accurate.

      1. Sure, Bornstein may have shut Messi down–once upon a time. Do you want Bornstein seeing any time on the pitch against England? He has rapidly decline from any defensive ability he once had–the man just doesn’t have the positioning and tactical sense to play well during the tournament. Bornstein has literally made Bradley give Boca the left back spot out of sheer terror over his horrendous defending.
      2. Same with Feilhaber–good in past, not so sharp now. Generally, I would take a far deeper English bench with “less” international experience than a US bench that has slightly more international experience but far less talent.
      3. Would you run the numbers for us on the Beasley quote? Even I, a pretty strong US fan, find that stat hard to believe.
      4. I agree that the match isn’t won on paper–and this is the reason why the US can beat England, especially if the match goes into half tied or with the US leading. The past matters, but there are reasons why the past matters, reasons that we must explicate, not merely wave our hands at. (I’d go into a Humean critique about inductive reasoning regarding the connection between the past and present, but this is neither the time nor place.)
      5. We are going to disagree as to the merits of Capello against Bradley. You put a good bit of stock in Bradley’s tactical abilities; like many other US fans, I find that he struggles with personnel (especially subs), getting his team to possess the ball, and tactical awareness. One’s best XI is usually related to one’s most cohesive XI, and I am unsure if Bradley knows that. Now this is not all Bradley’s fault: he has been given multiple injuries to key positions and players (in defense, I believe is his own fault, but that is another matter).

      Most of these deficiencies will be covered up because the US will be playing a style it is comfortable with in Bradley’s run as a coach–a counterattacking defensive 4-4-2, with 4 spread across the midfield. I am worried that the same gameplan that beat Spain may not work against England. Spain was beaten because the US forced them to the wings and soaked up crosses and runs from the endlines. Unfortunately, this is how the English attack.

      My solution, if there is one for the US, is to use the speed of Finley, Buddle, and Gomez to stretch the English defense, attempting as much as possible to keep Johnson and Cole from joining the attack. Playing a 4-2-2-2 when on offense would allow the US to play its best attacking ball, while returning to a 4-4-2 ,with a straight four across the midfield, is probably the best defense. Don’t see much of a chance for the US to win this game, especially with the injuries (Davies and Jones really hurt for this game, as do the injuries to our defense), but we could pull out a tie. The games against Algeria and Slovenia are more important and must be won.

  6. One more thing:

    Much has been made of the lousy US defen(c)e. But did anybody watch England/Mexico in Wembley? That was some C- defending by the hosts, as Mexico could have easily scored 4 goals by halftime.

    Don’t kid yourself, England will have issues with two quality wide players (Landycakes, Dempsey) and forwards with pace (Jozy and whomever). The US will have a shot to score 3-4 Saturday, I just don’t see us being up to the task.

  7. Strikers- England defenitely has the edge
    Mid – I’d give the edge to US with Donovan and Dempsey
    Defence – both are bad but I gotta give the edge to the slightly less bad England.
    Goal – Howard gets the edge here for me.

    I think it will come down to who can get the ball up front more. If the ball is up there I don’t see these defences doing much to stop it. This game will be won in the midfield.

      1. Okay… good point. To me Lampard is too old. To be honest I somehow completely forgot about Gerrard. He has the edge on anyone on the US.

        So as a whole, Gerrard, Lampard, Cole and Lennon vs Donovan, Dempsey, Clark, Bradley. I think you have the advantage on the attack but I think the US can win a few more balls with Dempsey and Bradley.

        We’ll see but as awhole I’ll concede England is a better midfield and I was mistaken. (how could I forget about Gerrard)

      1. I imagine if you had done this same comparison between USA and Portugal back in ’02 Portugal would have come out just as strong.

        Going man v man and position v position England looks much better. Luckily (for the USMNT) sports don’t work that way.

        1. Honduras beat the USA 3-1 and the Czech Republic beat USA 4-2.

          It doesn’t mean anything because its the exception not the rule.

          The truth of the matter is obviously anything can happen during the course of a match but if your best prediction is that “once there was this game and we actually won against an arguably superior team” that isn’t much of an argument to make.

          Anybody can win but the point is if both teams show up their best one is more likely to win.

          Let’s assume the Gerrard of PL 2009 and the Rooney and Lampard of PL 2010 show up.. see what I mean?

  8. Jason,

    Seriously, Donovan and Dempsey over Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard? As far as the Tim Howard observation is concerned, this could be where Capello gets it wrong. I’d rather have Howard than James, because I believe England’s best keeper is Joe Hart. James for me is 3rd choice.

    1. Not sure i agree with you Jesse – Lamps has had a good year, Gerrard has not. Donovan and Dempsey both had good years and can Gerrard and Lamps work together???

      I think and hope England will win but I doubt it will be decisive either way.

  9. Is there some “chip” in the heads of England’s supporters that cannot distinguish between weaknesses in opponent’s but put a mirror in front of their faces and suddenly there are loads of excuses. Just a couple in what could really be literally hundreds of examples.
    1. The United States defending is “leaky”. True. But have you seen England lately? If you’re going to trot out the “friendly doesn’t matter” argument, then apply it across the board. I understand that Lampard and Terry didn’t play against Mexico but you can’t tell me you weren’t alarmed at Vela and Dos Santos carving up the middle and through the heart of England’s back line. This should really be of concern to y’all since your true holding midfielder Gareth Barry isn’t available Saturday.
    How about that friendly against Japan? Any alarm bells there? Let me point out a couple. On the first of three goals Japan scored, dreadful defending on the set piece. I know Ledley is a fantastic defender, but it has been Terry/Ferdinand forever and the last time Terry/King played together was what, over a year and a half ago? Communication is key, and all it will take is one mis-communication and there’s big trouble. And talk about dejavu’ all over again. Gerrard and Lampard back together, talking about the same ol’ can they play together. Capello is going to shove Gerrard back deeper and waste him on Saturday, trying to compensate for the loss of Barry. Huge mistake. A 4-4-2 with Heskey and Rooney up front should leave Bob Bradley salivating. England is much more dangerous with Gerrard playing off Rooney.

    2. Which brings me to the hot head himself. You couldn’t have been all that confident after the Platinum Stars fiasco could you? Even Capello admitted to having to rip the lads at the half over their seemingly lackadaisical attitude or as Jermaine Defoe unwittingly let on, altitude. Evidently all that altitude training in Austria didn’t do all that good, as Defoe admitted struggling with it. Oh yeah, hothead Rooney, he’s looking very 2006 Germany. Typical Rooney of old, telling the referee to F off and generally showing a lack of class. Come on lad, this was a friendly against the Platinum Stars, lighten up, have a bit of fun. Oh, wait, there is no fun with an England World Cup squad. Why? Too much pressure from the myopic supporters who think every World Cup is there for the taking when their world ranking is just about right. Same old story, different World Cup cycle.

    I think the likely scoreline is 2 nil USA, not England. The USA for all of their flaws doesn’t have much pressure back home. We don’t constantly berate and chip away at our boys through the media, dragging down their confidence. When England decides to support and not tear down the team [which by the way will be never], maybe, just maybe, there will be a bit of confidence showing up on the pitch.

    1. I think you are right to point out that England did not look good in the friendly games but when you are switching players so much it is hard to get a real feeling for how a team is going to perform in the world cup. We have seen teams such as spain and italy also play poor and struggle to win against lesser opponents. I don’t think we have seen England’s starting 11 on the field at the same time in any of the recent games and therefore I wouldn’t make too much of them if I was you.

      1. Agree or disagree that this will be your starting 11 come Saturday. Green, Johnson, King, Terry, Cole, Gerrard, Lampard, Cole, Lennon, Rooney, Heskey. If this is your 11, are you concerned that Gerrard is probably going to be used deeper and therefore not maximizing his talent? Two, Heskey? I’ve seen the stat that when they’re together on the pitch, Rooney scores every 31 minutes. That was impressive until I saw the quality of the competition. My point is that if Heskey is the foil for Rooney, what happens when the USA mark Rooney completely out of the game and says to England “Go ahead Heskey, beat us.” Do you have the confidence in Heskey to finish? I see these as potentially bigger problems and couple that with a back four that could be fantastic, but just as easily shambolic, and I don’t think it’s a walkover. England have more talent man for man no doubt about it. But if that were the case, the Dutch would have three World Cup trophies right now. I’m sticking with a two nil to the USA prediction and hoping like hell we don’t get tonked.

  10. I reluctantly agree with you assesment of the USA/England match. The issue is what happens after the USA loses to England. Your correct, if we win the second two matches we are probably through but winning the second match against Slovenia will be difficult as I fully expect them to defeat Algeria in the first match and be playing for a tie against the USA. After England defeats Algeria, England would only need a tie against Slovenia to guarantee top spot in the group which would put Slovenia in second place regardless of the USA/Algeria outcome.

  11. I have England down as winning this game but the way the usa can play makes me worried ! They are no walkovers however on our day we could beat anyone but so can usa and they have proved it (unlike us). Names dont make teams , teams make names my choice would be;-
    King , Terry
    A Cole
    J Cole
    Gerrard , Rooney.
    As a Spurs fan I obviously would like to get Defoe and Crouch on as much as poss but that just depends on when Rooney looses his head!!!!

    1. Good to see a spurs fan on here. I’m curious how lennon will do on the big stage. I wasn’t too impressed with him after his return from injury.

  12. “England will win against the US and the US will probably still advance to the round of 16 and hopefully further. ”

    Well, them advancing any further than the round of 16 really depends on winning this group, and that probably requires beating England. Finishing 2nd means likely having to face Germany. I don’t see the US winning that one, but I suppose you never know (though I know US will not beat Germany).

    England on the other hand, has a much better chance vs. Germany. Thus, I think it’s only fair that the U.S. win the group, and England finish 2nd. Gives the best chance at BOTH teams advancing further into the cup :)

  13. England team is (honestly) miles better than US. If England don’t win by at least two goals it’ll be a worry for us. I personally hope you get rolled over on Saturday. That said, I do like the team spirit and work ethic that US have, and I’d expect that to carry them through the group stage.

    Great thing about football is that the better team doesn’t always win. Although any team with that knob Landon Donovan doesn’t deserve anything imo.

    1. Read your post. Took it seriously until “Although any team with that knob Landon Donovan doesn’t deserve anything imo”.

      Then I realized you’re an idiot and anything out of your mouth is garbage. Thanks!

      1. So you disagree with his opinion and that makes him an idiot?

        If England do beat the USA all the people that thumbed him down are going to look like the idiots.

        1. Tyson… learn to read. When you say that any team with one particular player doesn’t deserve anything to become a non-credible source and to try to make a point and ending with that does indeed make you an idiot. I never said I disagree with his opinion on the subject…

          1. I was just trying to ruffle a few feathers with that little Landon Donovan jibe. Of course, having one little cheating mug on your team doesn’t mean they don’t deserve anything per se.

            Tim Howard is an absolute gent and would walk into the England team.

    2. Considering England didn’t win by MORE than two goals even against T&T in 2006, you have set the bar mighty high.

      With an Italian manager, you should learn to appreciate the types of results Italy gets. 1-0 with little flair but lots of grit and tactical sense. That would be a good road map for England.

      1. Yeah, but I said AT LEAST two goals.

        I’m sorry but that’s just such a cliched and simplistic view of Italian football – this idea that Italian teams and managers just grind out results i.e. score one goal and defend. Capello has already stated that he wants attacking football a la premiership.

        England NEED a strong performance against USA ‘cos it’ll probably be the best team we face until the quarters (assuming we win the group).

  14. All of this is pointless I’ve decided. Are the US better than Spain? Were they better than England in 1950? The point isn’t who’s better overall, it’s whether or not US can beat the odds and beat England. How your press can make predictions and breakdown every position and expect that to quantify anything is hilarious. I know that’s what a pundit, writer or analyst does, but this is just silly. The US CAN win, but most likely, the US WON’T win. If they do it’s an upset. If they don’t then things go as planned.

    As a US fan, I’m just looking for English supporters to stop acting like their shit doesn’t stink. For 100 years or more you’ve claimed to invent the sport, yet never truly dominated it in any way shape or form from an English way. You’re league’s best players are almost always not English. This is an old and exhausted argument I know, but at the end of the day you’re national team has better players than the US, but that doesn’t mean the US can’t win. Just like the US is better than Slovenia and Algeria, but can still lose to them.

    After all, all of this banter is why we’ll be glued to the TV sets this Saturday. May the best team, on the day, win!

    1. “May the best team, on the day, win!”

      I do not share this sentiment. I’d like the US to win Saturday, whether we are the better team or not. We’re owed a lucky result after the German debacle in ’02.

    2. And the US lost against Honduras and Czech Republic this year.. freak incidents are not the rule they are just an incident.

      Anything can happen in world football of course but if both teams show up and play to the best of their ability who do you think will come out on top?

      He’s assuming there won’t be any freak incidents and both teams will play their heart out and in that case its hard to argue that England should come out on top simply due to the quality of players.

      1. You’re correct Tyson, they should win. But how many English fans would bet their house on it? Not really a safe bet in world football either. You can call it freak accident if the US wins or an act of God for that matter, but it wont change the fact that they won. Also doesn’t change the fact that the English team is more stacked than the US.

        Point is this is getting so beaten to death already. I expect England to win, but if they don’t, regardless of the situation, expect to never hear the end of it.

        1. I think thats the problem David a lot of American fans are so caught up in beating England they may very well get knocked out of the tournament by somebody else.

          This is what happened when the USA were hyping a game against Italy and they got knocked out by the other teams. England are just going to try and get enough points to qualify and try and get as far as they can in the competition. I’d assume the US has a similar goal and won’t mind a draw or even a loss in the first game if it means qualification.

          End of the day the team that gets further in the competition is likely to have the last laugh till we hit the reset button in another 4 years.

  15. I dont see England putting 3 goals behind Tim Howard. 2 if they are lucky. To get 3, you’ll need the help of the officials. Like Onyewu picking up a yellow inside the 7th minute.

    Talk all you want about size and strength up the middle for England, but Wayne Rooney will be the first person to take a false dive inside the box.

    1. “I’m sorry, but can anyone honestly name me a better left back in the world than Ashley Cole?”

      Patrice Evra

      1. Nope, sorry. Evra’s a damn fine player, but he’s not at Cole’s level.
        Good shout though people.

    2. Actually as an England fan I’ll go on record to say Patrice Evra is clearly better than Cole.

      Patrice Evra has a versatility that Ashley Cole simply doesn’t have. The funny thing about Evra is he started his football career as a winger which is why he possesses that pace and an eye for setting up goals.

      Only edge that Ashley cole has over Evra is the headers, otherwise Evra takes it in every department and Evra has been instrumental in both Uniteds Champions League winning seasons lately.

  16. all i can say is this match reminds me when we were underdogs against portugal in 02 and we won. im not arrogant and will gladly take a point against england but for some reason this match reminds me of the portugal match.

  17. If you were to compare Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra this time last year I’d say it would be inconclusive as to who was the better left back. However, Ashley Cole has been sensational this year, he bagged 4 goals (2 of which were among the best goals of the Prem season) tripling his career goal tally for Chelsea without committing any memorable defensive atrocities (i.e. vs Liverpool the previous season). Evra is a great left back but after this season I think its plain to see he’s 2nd best, Cole was on fire, even after coming back earlier than expected from a broken ankle.

    Also, while it’s by no means the metric to determine the best left back, it’s worth mentioning that Evra only has 1 Premier League goal in 5 season.

    1. you say (while it’s by no means the metric to determine the best left back, it’s worth mentioning that evra only has 1 premier league goal in 5 season.) your statement says that although left backs aren’t determined solely on goals, he only has one in 5 years. i want someone to look up the stats on how many assists, tackles, goals in the last five years between evra & cole. if im right i don’t want to hear cole was injured, if im wrong then i was educated by the fine writers of epl talk- im not being sarcastic.

      1. That’s a fair point Jose, Assists wise 7-4 Evra last season, but Cole missed 3 months with broken ankle. 2-2 in 08-09, 2-1 Cole in 07-08 and 3-1 Cole in 06-07

    2. If you want to see Evra at his best watch the Champions League wins that Manchester United enjoyed back to back. Ferguson used him instrumentally to set up goals in both events and he was a large part of the reason they won that biggest of competitions.

      Cole is not bad but he hasn’t performed at the same level in the Champions League.

  18. On paper England is definitely better than the USA. However, the USA I think play much better as a unit and that’s why they have a chance to get a result on Saturday. The USA also played in South Africa last year in the Confederations Cup so they will be familiar with the conditions. Anyone who doesn’t give the USA team a chance does so at his peril. My prediction is a draw.

    1. I think it depends on how well the US play as a team too. I mean there isn’t any doubt at all on the basis of player talent England is a good team but they rarely perform that well in matches.

      Only player I’ve seen on the England squad so far playing his heart out is Rooney. Rooney I think is going to be one of the best performers over the course of this world cup the man is on fire.

      I don’t predict a draw though Rooney vs the weak USA defense is not a good combination.

      I predict 2-1 to England.

      1. And I would be ok with a respectable 2-1 result favoring England. I’ll just be annoyed when the English fans parade around saying “told you so” and “we’re gonna win the cup!” over a narrow margin win. We’re not pushovers anymore, and I think all the US team and their fans are looking for is respect.

        1. You don’t earn respect by attacking the teams your playing and saying crap like “we are going to destroy you” and calling England out as underachievers.

          The shit that American fans have been saying on EPLTalk is certainly going to be rubbed into their face if England beat the USA, especially if they tear them to shreds.

          2-1 is my conservative estimate I see Rooney going well.

          1. You’re correct, American have been letting English fans hear it. But don’t think for one second that it hasn’t been 10x worse coming the other way. We don’t run headlines in our print like EASY. English are so full of arrogance when it comes to their football and try to play off as if they don’t stir the pot, it is hilarious.

  19. While I have very little confidence in the US back 4 whomever they may be, I’ll take Howard over any of the English keepers any day of week. If it comes down to the Keeper to make a save that wins the match, Howard is my man. The English strike force is far better then the US but I think the midfield is about even. Gerrard has had a crappy year by any standards, Lamapard is getting on and not the player he used to be. If the US can get an early goal and exploit the flanks, especially the right flank we have a shot at winning this match. My heart says 2-2, my head says 3-2 England sadly.

    1. Lampard – “is getting on and not the player he used to be”

      27 goals and 20 assists this year.
      The most goals scored in his 15 year career.
      The most assists in his 15 year career.

      Hmm, ye i’d write him off too if i were you…..NAAAAT

  20. I’m hoping for a free flowing game with lots of attacking from both sides. Each team has good scoring potential and shaky defenses. I give the edge to England in central midfield, but to the US on the wings and in goal. Strange that the US has produced keepers that are far better than England’s choices. I would even take old man Friedel over any English keeper; I just hope to god nothing happens to Howard or Hahnemann, because Guzan is terrible.

    If Bradley uses Torres in central midfield rather than Clark, and leaves Gooch on the bench, we have a shot. I can easily see Rooney or possibly Gerrard carded for overzealous tackling. I can easily see Dempsey squaring up to (insert England defender here) and getting a card. I can easily see this game decided by a defensive lapse late. Could be Lennon or Wright-Phillips, could be Donovan or Findlay zipping in to make it 2-1.

    Close game, probably 2-1 to England. Neither team will make it to the quarters.

    1. “I would even take old man Friedel over any English keeper”

      Friedel’s still on of the best keepers in the sport, I’d take him over any of the keepers in both the current England and US squads.

  21. People, get real, Im English and proud to be, but the USA team have a few hidden advantages over the British team, Its called Heat! there playing in Africa?!!? The Usa based athlete’s are just that, they dont go to the pub after the match or live it up in busy night clubs, tallent and experience only go so far when your pulling for air on the pitch and not to mention, the USA Midfield is out-standing!, thee only problem is finishing, they have no strikers apart from that old man that ive seen up front fo the last decade!, Ok so we have hesky, he’s a old timer, but hes black and back on his native turf and well the reserve striker. Will be intresting.

      1. And that the US has quite a few number of black players, if we are going to make the incredibly faulty assumption that black player play better “on their native turf.”

  22. @Mike ead

    Are you sure your name isn’t D!ck ead after that stupid comment about Heskey.

    US is a well organised unit and England will do well to come away with a comfortable victory. If it stays goalless until half-time, you will see England start to hit long balls as the fans get impatient with the players.

    England by 1-0 is my prediction.

  23. Horribly racist remark there Mike ‘D’ ead. And are you sure your English – no Englishman I know would refer to our side as the ‘British team’. Sure you aren’t a yank?
    As sombody has pointed out, it’ll be their winter over there too.
    All these people who keep saying England don’t play well together, leaky defence, etc, well we had the best qualifying round ever, we scored more goals than anyone else in Europe, and we let in one of the fewest. On top of that, we won all our games – only Spain equalled that.
    I think England should win – can’t see the US finding the back of our net either.

    1. @ robert downes

      I think you may be conveniently forgetting the Ukraine result but I tak your point, a very good qualifying campaign.
      England can go far if they can master possession of the ball, something they have so far failed to do under every manager except possibly Hoddle and now Capello.

  24. I wasn’t even aware that this was a questionable matter…

    England scored 34 goals in qualification compared to USA’s 19.
    England won the group, dropping 3 points compared to USA’s 10.
    England conceded 6 goals compared to USA’s 13.

    While the USA team worries about how they’re gonna beat England, we’re worrying about how to win the competition

    1. Yeah, those matches against Andorra, Kazakhstan and Belarus really tested the England squad and showed how superior they are against top European competition.

      1. To say USA weren’t exactly prolific against Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador + Trinidad and Tobago, doesn’t really say much about them either.

        Think it can be said that Ukraine, Croatia , Belarus , Kazakhstan, Andorra are all better than any of USA’s opponents (Except Mexico)

        1. Your first statement is correct. I was just pointing out that qualifications mean nothing.

          Your second statement is just batshit crazy. Honduras and the Ticos are probably better than half of those sides.

          I’d love to see England play in some of the woeful and extremely hostile stadia in Central America the US plays in to qualify. I’m not sure their pampered superstars would be able to hack it.

          1. Why are people on the offensive here ??
            Honduras beating Croatia, Ukraine, Belarus, even Kazakhstan.
            No way. Football violence in England is notourios, the league is possibly the most physical in Europe, let alone America, and as for pampered, many players come from Liverpool, Manchester and South London, chav capitals of the world.

            To assume England wouldn’t be able to beat Honduras away is just daft

          2. I meant the crowds and the stadia themselves. They are very difficult places to play. The pitches are awful, the crowds on top of the players, and they throw crap (sometimes literally) at the players.

  25. So by your logic, Rooney10, the Dutch have already won the WC, and there’s no need to play the actual matches. Great analysis.

    1. Hmm, yes, because i definatly mentioned Holland….Clown !

      Last time i checked i was sure i was just mentioning how England trumped USA in all qualifying aspects.
      Great analysis of my comment..

    2. Can’t find your reply, so i’ll use this post instead

      I like it how you’ve gone down the road of “I can’t argue the stats so i’ll just turn grammer nazi instead”

      You just wait there while i go and try to find someone who cares about spelling…i may be gone a while

        1. Should’ve gone to specsavers !!
          How embarrassing.

          I do like that stat !!
          Let’s try and find you and the rest of the USA one of equal measure and importants errmm nope, can’t find one, sorry.

          1. I’m guessing you weren’t born in 1966, so I’ll think of some other sporting accomplishment the English have secured since. Give me a minute to research.

            Your rugby team won something in 2003. And wasn’t there a Wimbledon winner who was English? Whoops, sorry, that was in 1936. Australia owns yer ass in cricket, not that anyone cares. Ask Ricky Hatton how he likes getting knocked out by Mayweather, Pacquio, etc.

            Calm down a bit and recognize I’m just tweaking you because you’re eminently susceptible to it.

    1. Ricky Hatton’s shite, Citeh tosser.
      Last time i checked the Ashes are held by us.
      Roddick does well at the American open hmm great, one title.

      Typical American has to fall back on other accomplishments because you don’t know when you’re beat.

      And as for calm down, i was replying to you’re replies to me, not the other way round. You tweaking me ? Think you need to re-read the comments dude

  26. Rooney10, you can understand my typically American reaction, considering the match hasn’t been played yet. Thus, I don’t actually know when we’re beat, since we haven’t lost a WC match yet. Since you are obviously a big Everton fan, I’m sure it’s confusing for you to think in the abstract.

    If you’d read the comments you’d see that my prediction was 2-1 to England, but I hereby renounce this, and declare the American Cowboys to be the bestest soccering team ever! Rest assured that England will remain the World Champion in stabbings and public drunkenness.

    The End.

    1. I’d love to know how you managed to come to the Everton conclusion.

      I know, i read your comment, i didn’t care after you came to the conclusion the USA would be awesome down the wings, i don’t know if you’re saying your wingers compared to our wingers are better, or if your wingers are better than our wing backs, but i can’t agree on that one. America, non the less, will continue to take two seats on an aeroplane whilst concealing their weopons

  27. Most of the side has or does play in the English Premiership and know their opposition like the back of their hands, this is a factor again I believe the bookies are under estimating when I saw the pricing of this game.

    England are a classy side but given how organised America are and the lack of fear they have towards England, we could see another famous result for the US.

    However come the end of the game I believe that it will be Capello’s side will just have too much as the English depart Rustenburg with a small marginal victory very likely.

  28. Well it is too bad for all of you because it was a draw. Guess England wasn’t as good as you thought it was, huh?

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