Key Players: F Wayne Rooney, M Frank Lampard, D Ashley Cole, D John Terry, M Steven Gerrard
Why England will win
Experience- England’s squad has by far more experience than the United States’. The United States only has a couple of their stars playing for club teams in Europe, while every player on England’s roster plays in the Premier League, which is arguably the toughest league in the world.
Why England will lose
The United States has long been considered a poor stepbrother to England when it comes to soccer, but the boys across the pond now face a team with higher expectations than usual. With the United States’ surprising run during last year’s Confederations Cup, including a win over European champions Spain, the Yanks have a newfound confidence in their abilities. This team will rely on smarts over skills, as they will focus on limiting their mistakes as a team and controlling the tempo of the game.
Key Players: M Landon Donovan, F/M Clint Dempsey, F Jozy Altidore, G Tim Howard, D Oguchi Onyewu
Why the US will win:
The US will win this game because they relish their role as the underdog. They love to come out and surprise their opponents by keeping the ball away from them and capitalizing on their opportunities, it will be no different against England. Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore will provide a solid scoring threat against an injury-laden England backline. The usual pairing of former captain Rio Ferdinand and John Terry has been broken up due to the fact that Ferdinand will miss the cup because of injury. Replacing Ferdinand will be Ledley King, a player known for his chronic knee problems. England also still hasn’t decided on a goalkeeper, choosing between 39 year old David James, or inexperienced Nick Green. This uncertainty for England should allow the US to be able to score without a problem.
Why the US will lose:
England is bigger, faster, stronger, and quite frankly, more talented. With the exception of the uncertainty between John Terry and his defensive mate, England is loaded in every position. The US defense has proved to be extremely vulnerable over its few matches leading up to the World Cup. The US cannot afford to make a defensive mistake against England, because they will make them pay. England’s scoring threats include Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch, and Jermaine Defoe. Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are two of the finest free-kick takers in the world, so the US must be careful not to give them any easy chances.
Matchup to Watch: Michael Bradley and Wayne Rooney
Bradley has been known to get into opponents heads and is one of the toughest players in the tournament. Wayne Rooney on the other hand, is a tantrum waiting to happen. If Bradley is successful in taking Rooney’s mind off of playing the game, it will be a major plus for the Yanks.
FINAL JOINT PREDICTION: 2-1 ENGLAND