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England Thinks Group C Will Be Easy; They’re Dreaming


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.

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  1. brad

    June 23, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Then….. Now…..

    England Y
    Algeria E
    Slovenia S

  2. KS

    June 21, 2010 at 6:14 am

    International Support Slovenia Against England at the World Cup is on this Wednesday… show your support!!/group.php?gid=136308939714900&ref=mf

  3. piners

    June 21, 2010 at 6:00 am

    i think as a rich person i will contribute to capellos retirement period after resigning once england have been knocked out of the world cup the tragedy is not in the failing but in the attepmt being england manager is not a crime unless of course your english as they need people like capello to lead unfortunately as a load of press baggers his own team members have humialiated themsdelves how can a shepherd lead his sheep if they are all wolves

  4. The Gaffer

    June 18, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Whew! My prediction came true… “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.”

    The writing was on the wall for England and the United States. This was never going to be an easy group. I would argue that the US played the toughest team in the group today, Slovenia, and came away with a draw which is an excellent result. Algeria will be no walkover.

    The Gaffer

  5. doug

    June 18, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    the interesting thing about the England-Algeria match was that England didn’t really have that many close scoring opportunities. Their “close” opportunities were close in the sense that they had the ball open near to the Algerian goal, not close in the sense of almost scoring. They kept trying to pass the ball when they were just 10 yards out… England has just lost her confidence…

    Part of it may be that England just isn’t that good. But most of England’s players play in the Premier League. Rooney had 25 goals for Man U. last year, Altidore had 2 for Hull, and yet Altidore has impressed more in 180 minutes of soccer so far. I think England has been psychologically damaged by their draw v. America. Wayne Rooney looks like he’s been neutered, and so does the rest of his team.

    I think England may well be finished off by Slovenia. USA-Algeria will be a nail-biter as well…

  6. Sam

    June 18, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Hahahaha! EASY! Right. I always root for England when the US isn’t involved, but after hearing so many arrogant comments from English fans about how the US doesn’t stand a chance, I can’t help rooting against them. Now that England has scored only one goal in two World Cup matches…they just finished the goalless draw with Algeria…I can’t help grinning from ear to ear. I would love to see the US go through and England get left behind this time.

  7. Max.A

    June 15, 2010 at 10:41 am

    i hope nobody’s taking this seriously, even we in the UK pay no attention to the sun

  8. Dan

    June 12, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    USA! USA! Them English (it feels odd using English as a nationality) can’t say anything now! Whoo! This is just hilarious. I just love when a team is hyped but then can’t fufill its expectation. This was a David vs Goliath game. Batman vs Robin. The Lakers vs the Heat. Man I’m loving this. I do hope England comes second in the group. Germany looks scary.

  9. Aaron Jones

    June 5, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    The USA is a big sporting nation, but when it comes to football, they are in the minor league.It doesn’t matter what the stupid FIFA rankings say.

    The USA is a minor footballing nation and this is the reason why England (or any other major footballing nation) are so confident about facing them.

    You people need to wake up and smell the coffee, the arrogance you have in your ability in other sports has no substance when it comes to football. Concentrate on trying to finish ahead of Algeria. That is your make-or-break game to see if you finish second!

    • Sam

      June 18, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      I suppose Algeria is also in the minor league, eh Aaron? The coffee is smelling mighty good right now, mate.

    • England_is_Overrated

      June 26, 2010 at 6:56 am

      Who is the weak football team now ?

      England was over confident, and Rooney is a dummy.

      The USA won the group, good luck against Germany !


  10. nick2010

    June 4, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Anyone but England
    I’ve heard it’s really buzzing at Hampden when you’re
    playing your local rivals The Faroe Islands

  11. Anyone But England

    June 4, 2010 at 5:36 am

    Ah crap that woulda been a better comment if I got the frickin dates right haha meant to put euro 2012 instead…my bad

    • nick2010

      June 4, 2010 at 2:14 pm

      More delusion

  12. Anyone But England

    June 4, 2010 at 5:35 am

    nick2010, we may not qualify for anything these days but our stadium(hampden) still gets a lot more supporters in it and our stadium half full makes more noise than a fully packed wembley……its gonna be great watchin England go out on penalties in the quarter finals 🙂

    Euro 2010 Scotlands time to shine
    Euro 2000 David Weir “our time will come”

  13. ericdb

    June 1, 2010 at 12:43 am

    Easy? Maybe, maybe not. The path to the championship is usually paved with the toughest bricks, the hardest road, and they say whew? You should want the toughest challenge at all times! That is the mark of a TRUE champion. England is out! No chance. To easy.

  14. David

    May 26, 2010 at 10:25 am

    As an Englishman I can telll you that if it’s any consolation, there’s a good proportion of the English public that don’t believe what they read in the newspapers, who don’t buy into the incredible fatuous jingoistic hype that newspapers like the Sun put out and know that we’re in for three difficult games – the USA being the toughest of the three.

    There are many good things about Capello’s reign, but the best of them has to be that he seems to have got some distance between them and the crazy expectations of the tabloid press.

  15. The name of the sport is FOOTBALL

    May 9, 2010 at 7:42 am

    GO ENGLAND!!!! Destroy the worthless usa!!!!!!!


    • Sam

      June 18, 2010 at 5:41 pm

      Hmmm, your “best group since the Beatles” could destroy neither the worthless USA nor Algeria. Thanks for playing. Game over.

  16. nick2010

    May 9, 2010 at 3:14 am

    Ross as a Scot cheering for other sides is all you’ve got cos your sad deluded nation never qualifies for anything.
    We as a nation look forward to the day we don’t have to share a country with

  17. Ross

    May 6, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Come on USA, Algeria and Slovenia, hammer England for the rest of the UK and dump them out of the tournement at the group stage!!!!!

    In all fairness though its the English press thats to blame, they’re notoriously bad when it comes to hyping up Englands chances for a world cup or any major tournement for that matter. The general concensous in England i believe is that yes it was a good group to get drawn in and one they should realistically be aiming to win however in any world cup there are no easy games and anything can happen so the English Fans wouldnt share the same deluded thougths as the media that their going to repeat 1966 and come back with the trophy.

    Cappello has them playing well and a lot of players are in great form going in to the final match of the Premier League Season and noone important is injured (beckham is well past it and wouldnt have played a major or significant role) however i do think that the USA are under-rated and could upset England and go on to Win this group!

    So as a Scot ill be cheering for USA, Algeria and SIovenia and would like nothing more than to see USA beat england in their opener for Group C!

  18. Mat

    May 4, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Say what you like about England being slow starters, but they have qualified from every one of the groups. Personally, I don’t think we can draw on the world cups from 1990 and 1986 as they are too far back, but even so England has always negotiated their way. To be fair, this article claims that ENGLAND thinks that getting through the group will be easy. This is not a fair claim, as the Sun is just one newspaper, and a tabloid at that. While I will not deny that the group has very much encouraged England fans, it is certainly not the general opinion that the group stage will be a walkover and that the latter rounds are where the action will begin. England will be very much up for the first game against the U.S., and with a manager like Capello to keep them disciplined, will not take the slightly easier games (or what I consider slightly easier) again Algeria and Slovenia (who knocked out Egypt and Russia in playoffs, respectively) lightly.

  19. nick2010

    March 19, 2010 at 3:58 am

    Yanks is actually short for Yankers
    It’s Yorkshire rhyming slang

  20. nick2010

    March 19, 2010 at 3:55 am

    I love listening to delusional Yanks
    I hope you come bottom

    • Sam

      June 18, 2010 at 5:49 pm

      Delusional, huh? After two games, the US sits second in the group…ahead of England who has scored an impressive one goal in two games. Who, exactly, is deluded now? Good luck against Slovenia.

    • Orrin

      June 26, 2010 at 6:52 am

      Who finished first tin the Group ?

      The English football team are wankers !

  21. Joe Dirt

    February 6, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    I def agree with this. England has had shaky starts in the past. But I expect them to finish this group first, although I dont want it to happen naturally. I think that if the US can get a draw against England, it will boost their confidence and potentially set them up for success against Algeria. I’m more concerned about the US plans for after the England game. Algerian fans are known for their passionate spirit and being on their home continent in the WC may give them a 12th man advantage. I’m just worried that if the scenario happens where the US beats/ties England..they may be overconfident and may lose some much need points to an Algerian or Slovenian side who was impressive in knocking Russia out of the WC. England naturally are the favorites..but seeing as there is a potential rift with JT losing the band and Rio stepping up, I’m not counting them out. Their form may be off more than usual the first game, but with Stevie G and Lampard I expect them to knock it up a few notches after the first game and they get settled. I hope the US can take advantage, I have a good feeling they will if BB gets our teams heads out of their asses and instill some passion and pride in the WC and what a good run would mean to the sport in our country and for national pride as a whole. We desperately need someone to step up on the team and take the burden of leadership on his shoulders. Tim Howard can only do so much from goal..Lando seems to have been more quiet in the past but who knows how we will develop with Everton..The two things I desperately hope for to happen for the US prior ro the WC..(1) BB to stop giving players repeated chances at making the roster who dont deserve it or have shown that they just arent there yet (Kleistjan, Cunningham, etc..) and (2) to instill some urgency, passion, drive..whatever it may be..for the team to focus on this WC. This group may provide an enormous chance at a great run in the tournament, so much is riding on this.

  22. atef

    January 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    yeah bay yeah , give me a good day mate, please not deram too much just hope hope hope , not too much easy , EASY ( NOT IN FIRST ROUND)

  23. Yebda

    January 21, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I really hope England ties all there games. This would be my dream group stage (USA 1 – 1 Englan / Algeria 2-1 Slovenia; England 1-1 Algeria / USA 1-0 Slovenia; Slovenia 1 – 1 England / USA 2 – 2 Algeria) There england would walk out of the qualifiers with there tail between there legs! lol i’d love to have USA and Algeria go through.

  24. Jon

    December 11, 2009 at 11:37 am

    “Football not Soccer” You british fool. You are the ones that invented the damn word. I can’t wait to beat the crap out of these OVER hyped cocky bastards. No one ever gives us credit. Well wait for South Africa when we shut you snaggle tooth mouths for real.

    Yanks 2- England 1

    Here we go Yanks!

  25. solbeck

    December 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    bye bye yanks and is FOOTBALL NOT SOCCER
    England will win the group

    • Lars

      January 22, 2010 at 12:21 am

      Yeah and you Brits should bloody well know better than to invent the word soccer. Wanker.


    December 10, 2009 at 11:36 am


    • Sam

      June 18, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      England 1 – 1 USA
      England 0 – 0 Algeria

      Who is the moron, now, eh?

  27. Bryan

    December 9, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Haha, I love it. I’m so looking forward to that first match between England and US. I’ve had a dozen people that don’t follow any other soccer/football (but know that I do) tell me how excited they are to see that match.

    Every match matters and I can totally see something happening where we draw or beat England then turn around and lose to both of the other teams, but that’s the nature of the game. I’m excited regardless.

  28. Bobob

    December 8, 2009 at 9:36 am

    So because a newspaper writes that, as opposed to the thoughts of the team or the majority of the fans, some of you are now anti-England (“typical British, “i am disgusted at the cocky nature,” etc) ? All I can say is you guys get suckered in too easily. One newspaper does not equal an entire country, yeesh.

  29. Davidge Partelwarl

    December 7, 2009 at 7:59 pm


    Soccer fans should never read the Sun, even on-line.

  30. Rex

    December 7, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Its going to be fun. Especially when the USA media picks up on the story (next spring). Two of the biggest media hungry countries going at it.

  31. Jay

    December 7, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    England are the best team in this group but one thing they should understand is that the other 3 teams will be very keen on giving them a very tough fight no matter the end result.

  32. baffer

    December 7, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Come on Gaffer not really sure how you can use the Sun newspaper as a credible source. It is of similar standard to the NY Post. A throw away rag that takes two minutes to read. How about the view from the Guardian, Times of London, Observer and Telegraph. How about a view from some credible football journalists. The Sun and Daily Mirror should not be used as sources for credible stories regarding football or anything else for that matter.

    Come the summer the Sun will be slating everything American I am sure you will be putting those stories and headlines up as well won’t you. How about we keep this site strictly about football from credible sources and not tabloid sensationalism. If you are going to put the Sun up at least add the picture of the Page 3 girl.

    • The Gaffer

      December 7, 2009 at 3:42 pm

      Whether it’s a credible source or not, it’s one of the biggest daily newspapers in the UK and has an impact on the British psyche whether we agree with it or not.

      As for the other more reputable newspapers, I printed their reaction here:

      LOL re: Page 3 girls!

      The Gaffer

      • baffer

        December 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm

        To be fair I did read that article, I just cannot stand the Sun it has nothing to do with my psyche, I am cringing just thinking about the headlines that will be on the front page leading up to the 12th of June.

  33. Graeme

    December 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    RE mehdi – it should be typical “English” media, not British. The Scots (myself included), the Irish and the Welsh (from those I’ve spoken to) are dying to see England get sent home from the group stages.

    I really, REALLY want to see the Americans shut them up. I can’t see USA winning the competition, but if they can beat the English I for one will definately be happy. I’m sick of the media in England saying that they will “walk it” to a semi-final with Brazil.

  34. usa2010

    December 7, 2009 at 8:52 am

    To be fair, the USA/USMNT fans and media have been calling this an easy group, too. We shouldn’t get too focused on England and dismiss Algeria and Slovenia. None of these matches are “gimmees”. Whatever happens in the USA vs. England match, we still have to do well against Algeria and Slovenia to advance, and although I’d say on paper we are better than Algeria and Slovenia, nothing is certain in a World Cup match when it comes to the USMNT. Injuries, officiating, red cards – lots of things can happen to ruin our chances. And sometimes the USMNT just doesn’t show up mentally and looks like a bunch of strangers just got together on the same field for the first time. So nothing is certain. This is a good group, best group draw the USMNT has had so far, but nothing is “easy” for us.

  35. Lars

    December 7, 2009 at 1:23 am

    As a Anglo-Canadian I gotta say one thing…keep in mind i’m a Monarchist to the core too…

    USA! USA! USA!

    Nothing could be better for the game in North America than a strong US game against England and a deep World Cup run…

  36. mehdi

    December 7, 2009 at 12:42 am

    typical British ! EASY ???

    We will see that !

  37. short passes

    December 6, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Historically, England is the greatest team that never showed up. Better to let them wallow in their over confidence than let them think they may have to actually perform up to the standard of their press clippings.
    That said, England is a very good team that could easily be described using the same words that Terry Venables used in his negative comments about the US team in the earlier post. While Rooney can still have his creative moments, most of the team must be described as extremely competent, or “workmanlike”. No creative brilliance here !!! They won’t make the big mistakes, especially on the back line, but there will be nothing special.

    The US matches up with England as slightly less competent and “workmanlike” across the board, particularly in defense where I fear we will be a veritable sieve without Gooch. They are like a brick wall with large gaps in it, immobile and unhelpful on offense and only good on defense when the opposition doesn’t hit the gaps. There are a few hopeful exceptions on the team:
    1. Tim Howard, truly world class, pray for him !!!
    2. Clint Dempsey still has the skills and the mental outlook to bring some real creativity to the team. However, one big “if”. He needs to come to play. His play in the qualifying rounds was generally awful, even when he scored. I firmly believe that Clint sees no benefit in risking his physical well-being on the World Cup. His career is riding on his EPL play and that’s where his head and pocket book are. If Bob Bradley can bring out the old, brash Dempsey, our chances would escalate.
    3. Our two most competent players who actually can display moments of creativity and even brilliance are Michael Bradley and Benny Feilhaber. They are both exceptional passers with awesome vision. Coach Bradley needs to figure out a way to use them together.
    3. As far as brilliance in the striker area, I only see two possibilites, Altidore and Davies. One may not be ready physically and the other mentally. Good luck to Coach Bradley !! (I’m sure that there are loud screams — “what about Donovan?” Donovan is like the English team described above — the greatest player that never showed up. He may actually score if he gets some breakaways but don’t bet on it. McManaman in the coverage of the Draw hinted at the Euro perception of Donovan–he couldn’t cut it it in Europe so he crawled back to the MLS where he could be the “big fish in the small pond”.
    Good luck to the red, white, and blue, you’ll need it.

  38. chris

    December 6, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Here is how we beat England. We pressure their midfield up top like the U.S. did against spain and play with one speedy striker taking advantage of a classic counter attack. The first game is key to qualifying, remember what happened against the check republic in 2006.

  39. Yankeedoodle

    December 6, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    i am disgusted at the cocky nature of those nannies. how disrespectful of them towards not only USA but to Algeria and Slovenia. i support england when USA doesnt play but now i hope Ageria and Slovenia beat england as well. COME ON YANKS!!!!!!!! BEAT THE NANNIES!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Steve

      June 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      As much as I love my home country (England), I do HATE the English press, as do most of us. I still think England will win this group, but it won’t be easy. We never do things the easy way.

  40. Jammer

    December 6, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Only Italy’s draw was easier for a seeded team. That doesn’t make it “easy”, but it could have been a lot worse. That goes for the US too.

  41. This One Guy In Detroit

    December 6, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    (Let me add that while I think he’s probably right — we’ve tended to perform better when expectations are low — at some point the U.S. needs to psychologically step up to the next level anyway. The big-picture story of U.S. soccer is a tale of growth, and part of that growth includes eventually feeling innate confidence in our rising status. This World Cup is a good a place as any to start.)

  42. This One Guy In Detroit

    December 6, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    “… Alexi Lalas doesn’t believe the United States is an underdog in this game, believe it or not.”

    Now, granted, I don’t claim to have heard every word Lalas has uttered in the past couple of days. But if you’re talking about his remarks during ESPN’s draw coverage, I believe he was referring to the group overall, not England specifically. He was saying this is a good draw for the USA, but since we typically perform better in an underdog role, that could actually be to our disadvantage.

  43. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    December 6, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Capello will have England focused, but given that they needed a dive and an attempted take out of Slovenia’s GK to beat them in a friendly at home just three months ago, I wonder why Slovenia is now an “easy” draw?

    Perhaps some of the English press slept through early September or were focused on Scotland’s epic qualifier with Macedonia the same day?

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