The 1950 World Cup is one England still has not forgotten. One thing can be sure, England will not look past the United States in the first round this year. The United States brings a young front line and a team determined to make a point in the 2010 World Cup, although the Las Vegas Hilton Superbook has installed the United States as +650 underdog.
The United States may be catching England at a perfect time. England is a notoriously slow starter in World Cup play and they have been had in this spot before. Although a win would be an incredible accomplishment for the United States, a draw would be just as gratifying for the United States.
Will Jozy Altidore see much time in First round World Cup action?
One possible hindrance to the United States is that their best forward Jozy Altidore is a regular in the English Premier League playing for Hull. Altidore is a known commodity to England and may be easily contained. Couple this fact with the fact that Altidore is recovering from a sprained ankle and it is possible that Altidore may see limited action in the opening World Cup match.
United States coach Bob Bradley could play Edson Buddle alongside of Herculez Gomez in this critical match against England and it could be a brilliant move. Buddle and Gomez are both unknowns for England. Buddle plays for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the United States and Gomez is currently playing in the Mexican leagues for Puebla. Both players are playing at a high level heading into the World Cup and Bradley could take advantage of their momentum.
Landon Donovan versus Wayne Rooney may be a World Cup match up for ages.
Wayne Rooney and Landon Donovan are both leaders on their teams. Donovan has become the figurehead of the emerging United States team while Rooney has become a star and leader in his own right for England. Both are also known for having a bit of a temper that goes hand in hand with their competitive drive.
Donovan has an uncanny knack for finding the open man and setting up goals as a midfielder, while Rooney is a striker with reckless abandon that is a classic finisher. Although all eyes will be on these two don’t be surprised if someone else is the star of this match.
Clint Dempsey could be the X factor in this early World Cup match.
Clint Dempsey, a midfielder for the United States, will most likely be called upon to come forward and pose a scoring threat to support a the United States young forwards. With Dempsey to contend with, look for England to focus on him and this could free up Buddle or Gomez if they are in the match. If Altidore is playing it could leave Dempsey more room.
United States has the advantage when it comes to goaltending.
Believe it or not the United States does have an edge in one critical aspect of this World Cup match, goaltending. Tim Howard has made a name for himself playing for Manchester United and now Everton in the English Premier League. England’s goaltender David James has not been as consistent as Howard and isn’t known for shutting out his opponents.
Final Breakdown of England -250 vs United States +650 1st round World Cup match.
England is the obvious pick on paper for this match but if these matches were played on paper it wouldn’t be much fun. The United States may already be in England’s head going into the match. All of England fears an embarrassing loss to the United States and that fact alone could lead to enough pressure to give the United States an edge. Take the United States +650 and also make a smaller wager on a draw at +350.
www.espn.go.com World Cup previews.