England v USA – Match Preview and Team News
By Matthew Duncan.
Finally, the waiting is over. The World Cup has started and England will join the party this evening as they take on the United States in Rustenburg. For the last month, since the Premier League signed off for the summer, we have been treated to rumours and gossip galore regarding Fabio Capello’s plans for the summer in general and for this opening clash in particular.
The man himself now says that he has chosen his line-up including which of the three goalkeepers in the squad will fill the space between the posts although the Italian has yet to announce what his final decision is. Reports from the England training camp strongly suggest that Tottenham’s Ledley King will pattern Chelsea captain John Terry at the heart of the England defence after Rio Ferdinand’s unfortunate injury last week.
Gareth Barry’s injury concerns are not as serious as Rio’s and he will play an important part in this tournament but not on Saturday. He has failed to recover from his ankle injury sufficiently and will have to wait until next week’s match with Algeria to start his personal World cup journey. Joe Cole will hope that his recent impressive performances in the warm up matches will be enough to get him a place in the starting line up. Capello has shown little to suggest that he will deviate from a standard 4-4-2 formation with Emile Heskey supporting Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney upfront.
The Americans will have a familiar feel to their side thanks to the presence of many of their stars in the Premier League. Goalkeeper Tim Howard and forwards Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan are three of the States’ best players and will hope to win the bragging rights for their respective dressing rooms in August.
At the risk of sounding clichéd, the match will almost certainly be won in the middle of the park. New England captain Steven Gerrard will be expected to finally gel with Frank Lampard whilst the Americans will be hoping that their star midfielder, managers son Michael Bradley, is able to break up England’s passing and set up their own attacks, in much the same way he does for his club, Borrusia Munchengladbach.
If we look at the game objectively then it is clear that England possess the better side but as we all know, at these tournaments that does not always mean that the result will follow logically on. The Three Lions will only have themselves to blame should they underestimate the desire that the Americans have to beat their former colonial masters. If England go into the game with the same attitude that we have seen at the group stage of past world cups then Saturday evening may not be the best of starts for a team hoping to reach out and grasp glory.
What do you think should be Fabio Capello’s starting lineup?