USA Opening Game
Vital Manchester City contributor, Bundo sent us the following.
Well, it is finally here; the one competition that each and every one of us fall deeply in love with each and every time it comes around. The anticipation is immense - yes of course it's The World Cup.
Every amazing player in the world have all joined together to fight in an immense competition of goals, saves and unbelievable teckers. From your Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, David Villa, Didier Drogba, Kaka, and Franc Ribery all together in one mouth-watering international competition.
Each and every single player that will play the wonderful game in this competition will feel their heart pumping more than ever before, feel their head pulsating more than ever before, feel like nothing else in the world could possibly matter more than bringing home one single trophy to your nation. We love it - we all do - not just the football fanatics, but also the ones who know nothing about football.
Your auntie, who had known nothing of football before the competition will all of a sudden feel the game catch up on her and take her by surprise as she madly, falls passionately in love with this sensational competition. She will watch every England game going, she will learn all the players' names, and she will advance to the stage where she gets her own opinion on each player out there!
You all remember the days of Beckham and those free kicks. You all remember that Joe Cole wonder goal last World Cup. You all remember those penalty shoot outs, and you all remember that Rooney red card...and it has snuck back up on us again. You will wear your shirt with pride, YouTube the Carlsberg team talk advert over and over again with pride, post Facebook statuses minute by minute about this cup with pride, because quite simply, this is the best completion in the world.
England football team have been given wonderful odds this year to actually go on and win the prestigious competition. 1966 was the last time that the wonderful trophy was arisen in the grasping hands of an Englishman, and some people are dreaming now of that day happening again in the year of 2010!
The first game however is always the hardest, and on Saturday the 12th June, England`s campaign kicks off with a game against our war helpers the USA in Rustenburg. So, just like Martin Samuels probably will be doing soon, and just like Jamie Redknapp with his wonderfully tight trousers will be probably doing soon, I will give you a little insight into this game!
Game One - The USA
The game of football has increased in popularity over in the states over the past 40 years, especially with the likes of David Beckham moving out there and giving it a revamp and the USA, ranked a high 14th place in the world rankings, have appeared in the last five World Cups.
People underestimate the USA and think they will be easy to walk over, however please do not be so silly minded and do take them in to consideration as a very serious threat, especially after in 2009 having a wonderful run in the confederations cup in South Africa. They beat off world champions Spain 2-0 and just lost out in the final to Brazil (3-2 after being ahead 2-0). Of course, we should really beat them, however some things are easier said than done.
Although they have taken a dent in recent weeks, our 2018 World Cup bid is still on the table to be addressed and possibly bring the World Cup to England, and so have the United States of America with ex-President Bill Clinton being the honorary chairman of the USA bid committee to host the championships in 2018/ 2022.
If you want to check out the opposition before the world cup, on May 25th they have a friendly against Czech Republic.
Bob Bradley took over the managerial place in December of 2006 so this will be his first World Cup with the USA, after previously managing the Chicago Fire, MetroStars, and Chivas USA. He is 52 years of age and has been managing for just under 30 years. His form with the USA isn`t too shabby too.
USA 30 Man Squad
GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton)
DEFENDERS: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Heath Pearce (FC Dallas), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Michael Bradley (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), José Torres (Pachuca)
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Villarreal), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Puebla), Eddie Johnson (Aris Thessaloniki)
So, as you can see there are a few players there that study their field in England or have studied their field in England so will know our style quite well, and will have friends in our side. However, the 23 man squad is yet to be announced.
United States of America:
The USA is a marvellous place and we all know of it, and it would be difficult for me to even put the mad place into context, with Elvis Presley impersonators galore, wonderful picturesque cities and towns, some superb attractions and the most successful television franchise going - the place is just magnificent. The president is of course Barak Obama, and the one they all listen to...is Oprah Winfrey.
The weather is mostly sensational if you forget their odd thunder storm, or tornado. The capital is Washington DC, however we have all heard of the wonders of Chicago, Florida, New York City and many more, and no matter where you go there is something peculiar/ divine/ superb/ just plain crazy thing there. And of course - they know how to help out in a world war.
Star/ Key Men:
For the USA I have picked out three men that are key for them and you have most probably heard of all three as they spend most of their days in our lovely country.
Clint Dempsey of Fulham, Tim Howard of Everton, and Landon Donovan of LA Galaxy and formally of Everton (and possibly to be and Evertonian again).
Dempsey is a 27 year old winger from Texas who plays for small, but well known Uefa Europa Cup runners up Fulham. He has played 110 times for Fulham after joining in 2007 from American side New England, and he hasn't done a bad job at all.
He has played 59 times for the USA with 17 goals and is usually in the starting line-up. He is a big game player and can handle the pressure, and with Fulham for the last few seasons has been crucial to them and after another good season with Fulham this season he will almost certainly be going to the World Cup and will be one to watch.
Did you know? Dempsey, in 2004, played two games with a broken jaw?
Tim Howard started his club career in America after, just like Dempsey, moving to a Premier League side. Howard moved to Man United and had a stop and start run with United, swapping the number one Jerzy with Roy Caroll constantly after both were famous for their blundering errors, however in the end Howard won the shirt as Caroll left to be replaced by Van Der sar and Howard deciding to leave for Everton. He won a Carling Cup, FA cup and a Community Shield with United.
At Everton though he has been sometimes just purely magnificent and kept the number one spot all the time he has been there. Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel have offered stiff competition in the past for Howard to get into the team, however under Bradley he has been secured as number one goalkeeper with two other Premier League goalkeepers waiting on the bench.
Did you know? Tim Howard has Tourette syndrome and was named 'MLS Humanitarian of the Year' in 2001 for his work with children with Tourette's?
Donovan is in my opinion the biggest threat with the USA. He is a consistent player; the top goal scorer for the USA with 42 goals after has been in the squad for a decade. The 28 year old has had incredible experience after starting his career at Bayer Leverkusen (with only seven appearances) and moving on to San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy.
Since his move to Galaxy in 2005 he has had loan spells at Bayern Munich (not very successful with just six appearances) and Everton. At Everton he fast became a favourite with some wonderful displays (one that sticks out in my mind being against Arsenal) and with his pace, skills and shooting ability he has it all - so definitely a man to watch.
Did you know? Donovan scored in the final of the Confederation cup in 2009, to be defeated 3-2 against Brazil?
Possible Starting Line Up:
Johnson, Terry, Ferdinand, A. Cole
Lennon, Barry, Lampard, J.Cole
Either side could go with any starting line-up as they both have many options to pick from. England has wide men and who to partner Rooney to take in to consideration, while USA is looking at a possible change at centre back, and somebody to partner Altidore up front.
The game itself will be held in of course South Africa in a brand new stadium so let's have a look at it ay?
It is called The Royal Bafokeng Stadium and is named after the people that live in the area. It was built in 1999 after a legal battle was won and seats 44,530 people - Just 1,012 seats smaller than Anfield.
It has been host to many Premier Soccer League games and one game by the national South African side and it has held up them games well. 12 KM from the city centre.
World Cup Groups:
So England finds themselves in group C and favourites to win the group with USA, Algeria and Slovenia. The USA are favourites to come second place however some things are easier said than done.
England 3-1 USA
Rooney, Rooney, Lampard. Donovan.
Bundo, over and out.
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