On paper, England should win in a few hours. Badly. By at least five goals. With the exception of goalkeeper Tim Howard — who would start for England — not a single member of the US roster would make the England squad. Not even beloved Landycakes.
Yet, as they did against Spain in the Confederations Cup last year, the US will make it a match and could possibly win. It’s a simple matter of chemistry. The US have it, England doesn’t. Who knows what lineup will trot out for England, but as we saw with France yesterday, star power means nothing.
Because, if there’s any area where the US can exploit, it’s the center of the park. There, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, two of the world’s best center midfielders of the past decade, may have to coexist, or rather try to do so—the conundrum that is their lack of positional cohesion has stumped England coaches, critics and fans for going on six years now.
On the other hand, their counterparts Michael Bradley and Ricardo Clark are far from world-class. But if they can boss around Xavi and Xabi Alonso, they’ll be up for the easier challenge posed by the England pair.
That said, there’s still the Wayne Rooney factor. Will the US revert to a Hack-a-Wayne policy to get his temper flaring and get him out of the match? No, because the US has class (I hope). But they should, because otherwise, they have no answer.
Five goals? No, but two or three, the ugly truth for America.
Day One Recap:
South Africa Vs. Mexico — South Africa surprises and fails to suffer the ignominy of being the only host nation to lose its opening match. And for hero Tshabalala, what a beautiful goal it was.
Uruguay Vs. France — French manager Raymond Domenech, a media target for his lack of competency during Cup qualifying, is out of a job after the tournament. So, it seems, he’s doing his best to sabotage the squad now. Relegating attackers Gignac and Malouda to the bench against Uruguay, their replacements in the starting lineup did little to nothing. As did the rest of the squad, actually, with the exception of Yoann Gourcuff. Too bad no one on the team likes him. Comic relief courtesy of the French this Cup.