View Full Version : FIFA WC Soccer 2010 , GROUP C: all previews, reviews and match thread

May 31, 2010, 12:20 AM


<center> <table border="1" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" style="border-collapse: collapse" bordercolor="#111111" width="75%" id="AutoNumber1" height="99"> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="19">&nbsp;</td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" align="center" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">Team</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">P</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">W</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">D</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">L</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">GF</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">GA</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">GD</font></b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#C0C0C0" height="19"><b> <font face="Arial">PTS</font></b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#66FF99"><b> <font face="Arial">1</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#66FF99" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">USA</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>4</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>5</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#66FF99"><b> <font face="Arial">2</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#66FF99" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">England</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#66FF99" height="20"><b>5</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#FF6666"><b> <font face="Arial">3</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#FF6666" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">Slovenia</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>4</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td width="4%" align="center" height="20" bgcolor="#FF6666"><b> <font face="Arial">4</font></b></td> <td width="21%" bgcolor="#FF6666" align="center" height="20"><b> <font face="Arial">Algeria</font></b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>3</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>1</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="9%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>0</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>2</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>-2</b></td> <td width="10%" align="center" bgcolor="#FF6666" height="20"><b>1</b></td> </tr> </table> </center>


Saturday, June 12
18-30 - England 1 : 1 USA, Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Sunday, June 13
11-30 - Algeria 0 : 1 Slovenia, Peter Mokaba Stadium, Polokwane

Friday, June 18
14-00 - Slovenia 2 : 2 USA, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
18-30 - England 0 : 0 Algeria, Green Point Stadium, Cape Town

Wednesday, June 23
14-00 - Slovenia 0 : 1 England, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
14-00 - USA 1 : 0 Algeria, Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria

* All times are GMT


http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/eng.gif ENGLAND: Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green.
Defenders: Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Michael Dawson, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock
Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Forwards: Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney
Coach: Fabio Capello

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/usa.gif USA: Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann, Tim Howard
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein, Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, Clarence Goodson, Oguchi Onyewu, Jonathan Spector
Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley, Ricardo Clark, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden, Jose Torres
Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Edson Buddle, Robbie Findley, Herculez Gomez
Coach: Bob Bradley

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/alg.gif ALGERIA: Goalkeepers: Lounes Gaouaoui, Faouzi Chaouchi, Raid Ouheb M'bolhi
Defenders: Abdelakder Laifaoui, Madjid Bougherra, Carl Medjani, Rafik Halliche, Antar Yahia, Habib Belaid, Nadir Belhadj, Djamel Mesbah
Midfielders: Hassan Yebda, Medhi Lacen, Yazid Mansouri, Adlene Guidoura, Riad Boudebouz, Djamel Abdoun, Foued Kadir, Karim Ziani, Karim
Forward: Abdelkader Ghezzal, Rafik Djebbour, Rafik Saifi
Coach: Rabah Sadaane

http://www.fifa.com/imgml/flags/s/svn.gif SLOVENIA: Goalkeepers: Samir Handanovic, Jasmin Handanovic, Aleksander Seliga
Defenders: Miso Brecko, Bostjan Cesar, Branko Ilic, Matej Mavric-Rozic, Bojan Jokic, Marko Suler, Suad Filekovic, Elvedin Dzinic
Midfielders: Andraz Kirm, Robert Koren, Valter Birsa, Andrej Komac, Dalibor Stevanovic, Aleksander Radosavljevic, Rene Krhin
Forwards: Milivoje Novakovic, Zlatko Dedic, Zlatan Ljubijankic, Nejc Pecnik, Tim Matavz
Coach: Matjaz Kek

May 31, 2010, 11:13 PM
Ahh, Lucky US. They have an easy group. Even though I doubt they will make it, hopefully not XD

England and Algeria (hopefully). Slovenia is a brand new team with kids, so anything can be done.

June 1, 2010, 01:46 AM
Is this a group??
This is a joke.

Would love to see the Algerians making an impact, but more liklely, it wud be the Umrikans edging thru beside the Bilatis.

June 1, 2010, 06:02 AM
C'mon English lions! Get ready to maul the yanks!

June 1, 2010, 10:28 AM
England and USA of course. But not necessarily in that order. This should be pretty interesting. Me, I want England to top the group. England was my team in 2002 and 2006 and I still want them to do well this time.

June 1, 2010, 12:06 PM
england and england

June 5, 2010, 05:52 AM
michael dawson replaces Rio ferdinand for england as Steven Gerrard will now wear the captains armband

June 11, 2010, 10:28 PM
England v United States Preview (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264043&cc=4716&ver=global)

When England entered their first World Cup in 1950, they went down to a famous 1-0 defeat at the hands of the amateurs of USA in a match that became known as the 'Miracle on Grass'.

• David James: I'm ready to play
• John Brewin on USA
• Alexi Lalas: USA can compete
• Carlisle: USA aim to banish demons

The game has come a long way in America since that match and, while most firmly expect an England victory in Rustenburg on Saturday, an upset would hardly be viewed as miraculous.

England have mixed feelings going into the 2010 tournament. While Fabio Capello has turned the team around following the failure to qualify for Euro 2008, winning all but one of his competitive matches, the disjointed performances in the warm-up games for South Africa have done little to inspire confidence.

USA, though, have also struggled to convince during their warm-up matches, and it is largely the memories of last year's 2-0 victory over Spain in the Confederations Cup that will provide hope of a win in what represents a huge match for both countries.

"For the last six months, all we've seen is US-England, so if you're a casual sports fan at home you might think this is the World Cup final," USA star Landon Donovan said in his press conference ahead of the game. "We're not like Brazil where if they don't win the World Cup soccer is still the biggest thing in anyone's mind, but this is a great opportunity to grow the sport."

USA could adopt a 4-5-1 formation for the match with Jozy Altidore as a lone striker, with Japan enjoying success against England using the same formation as they dominated the midfield battle. With Donovan and Clint Dempsey out wide, the tactic would not be overly defensive.

England have largely used 4-4-2, and a change seems unlikely at this stage, but it was only when Joe Cole was brought on as a substitute against Japan that England were able to compete in the middle, so Capello's hand may be forced.

USA coach Bob Bradley has said all 23 players in his squad are ready to play the full 90 minutes, although Oguchi Onyewu's lack of match practice in recent months remains a concern. For England, Gareth Barry's absence could prove problematic given the lack of an alternative holding midfielder in the squad.

England player in focus: Aaron Lennon. England's right winger has often been central to hopes of unlocking opposition defences and, while Joe Cole should offer creativity from the left, Lennon could become the focus if his team struggle. He'll come up against an experienced opponent in USA captain Carlos Bocanegra, the former Fulham man who now plays in Ligue 1 with Rennes, so Fabio Capello will hope the Tottenham man can rediscover his pre-injury form on the big stage.

USA player in focus: Landon Donovan. This pacy attacker is very much the star of the USA team and he can provide a real threat out wide, frequently swapping flanks with Fulham's Clint Dempsey. The English defenders will be fully aware of his capabilities following his loan stint with Everton earlier this year, and Ashley Cole may be a little wary of facing the man whose tackle nearly ruled him out of the tournament. If Donovan gets a chance to play on the left flank, Glen Johnson will need to curtail his natural instinct to support the attack.

Key battle: Wayne Rooney v Oguchi Onyewu. Rooney finally ended an international goal drought with his strike in the warm-up match against Platinum Stars, but he may have the chance to really kick-start his England career on Saturday. USA centre back Onyewu, the former Newcastle loanee, joined AC Milan from Standard Liege last summer but made just one appearance in Serie A after suffering a knee injury on international duty. USA coach Bob Bradley believes Onyewu is fit to play the full 90 minutes but, as he has not appeared in any of the warm-up games, it is essential that he gets back up to speed from the off.

Trivia: England boss Fabio Capello gave USA coach Bob Bradley some help and insights into the world of management during his time at AC Milan in the 1990s.

Stats: Wayne Rooney was involved in more goals than any other player in Europe during the qualification campaign, with nine goals and five assists. USA have not kept a clean sheet in a World Cup finals match since beating England 1-0 in 1950.

Odds: England (1.50), the draw (4.20), USA (7.00) with Bet365. USA are 15.00 to win 1-0, which could be worth a flutter.

Prediction: USA showed they are capable of causing shocks in the Confederations Cup last year, and their experience in South Africa may give them an advantage in terms of adapting to the altitude. However, England are firm favourites for the match and should have enough to clinch a victory

June 13, 2010, 02:24 AM
Algeria v Slovenia Preview (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264044&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

With England and the United States firmly installed as favourites to advance from Group C, both Algeria and Slovenia will see this game as their chance to stake a claim for a place in the top two should one of the others slip up.

A point is likely to be no use to either side, which means it may be an open match with both sides on the attack. That said the two teams are very similar in style, though Slovenia can claim to have a more sturdy defence and a better build-up to the finals.

Slovenia will look to captain Robert Koren to pull the strings in the centre of the park as their playmaker, with Milivoje Novakovic an effective though unspectacular striker. Novakovic has the ability to hold the ball up, rarely giving away possession.

Slovenia are at their second World Cup finals, having lost all three matches and finishing bottom of their group in 2002, while Algeria, who qualified for the finals with a play-off victory against arch-rivals Egypt, previously reached the finals in 1982 and 1986 but have never made it beyond the group stage. The loss of Mourad Meghni, a gifted playmaker, to a knee injury before the tournament was a major blow.

Algeria's build-up has been marred by internal squabbling, disciplinary problems and injuries. Coach Rabah Saadane has dropped skipper Yazid Mansouri due to poor form and Antar Yahia will now wear the armband with Hassan Yebda coming into the team.

Algeria player in focus: Madjid Bougherra. The Rangers defender was a doubt for the finals due to injury, but has recovered to take his place in the squad and will be a vital player at both ends of the pitch. A cultured, ball-playing defender, do not be surprised to see him bring it out from the back. Many consider Bougherra to be one of the best defenders in Africa.

Slovenia player in focus: Robert Koren. Without a club after being released by West Bromwich Albion last month, Koren is in the shop window as much as any player at the World Cup finals. The creative spark in the midfield, Slovenia will look to move the ball through Koren when in attack mode. Being made captain has been the making of the player on the international stage.

Key battle: Aleksandar Radosavljevic v Karim Ziani. Radosavljevic has emerged from the shadows to become an important player for Slovenia, acting as the holding presence in the centre to Koren's creativity. Radosavljevic ability to limit the influence of Ziani throughout the match may have a major bearing on this game. With Slovenia having a strong defence, nullifying the attacking impetus of Ziani could set up a vital victory.

Trivia: On every national team shirt that Yazid Mansouri wears, he writes a tribute to his father who is the president of an organisation in France that speaks up for those suffering from intolerance to gluten.

Stats: Slovenia only conceded 4 goals in 10 games in their qualification for the World Cup. Algeria have never kept a clean sheet at the World Cup finals.

Odds: Algeria (3.30), the draw (3.25), Slovenia (2.25) with Bet365. The 1-0 win for Slovenia is priced at 7.50.

Prediction: Algeria have been in disarray in the months leading up to the finals, and seldom do teams do well at the World Cup under such circumstances. Slovenia will go into the game with confidence and while goals may be a problem for them, they may just edge this one.

June 13, 2010, 02:33 AM
yesterdays result

england 1-1 usa.

point table will be updated after todays game

One World
June 13, 2010, 07:22 AM
No supporters for Algeria! Hmm BC is surprising at times.

June 13, 2010, 08:28 AM
sloveina 1 - 0 alegeria

June 13, 2010, 11:12 AM
Algeria was so painful to watch. Zidane alone could beat this team.

June 17, 2010, 03:48 PM
Minnows eye place in history (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264045&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

Having won their first game at a World Cup thanks to an error from Algerian goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi, Slovenian confidence will be at an all-time high and, with England to come as their final group game, will be going all out to win and seal their progress to the second round.

A nation of around two million people, Slovenia impressed in getting to the tournament by knocking out Russia in the play-offs and have won over many neutral fans with their exploits in South Africa. Not the most attacking side, results are the order of the day and a well organised defence, combined with some invention up front, means that they have the chance to seal one of the most historic World Cup moments if they can beat USA.

For their part, USA were lucky to get a point from England thanks to Robert Green's error, but they will have gained confidence from the way in which they were able to halt the English attacks. With pace and skill to burn down the flanks, a tough central area that includes the hard tackling Michael Bradley and a defence full of experience and grit from the likes of Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu, coach Bob Bradley will be confident of progression against a side that many view as minnows.

Slovenia player to watch: Milivoje Novakovic. A consistent performer for his club side Cologne, Novakovic has also managed to net 16 goals in 29 games for his country and carries the bulk of their attacking hopes. He uses his body well to shield the ball and, at 6' 3'', carries an aerial threat as well. He needs to time his runs better, but will provide the USA backline with a tough test. If he scores he will become the second highest scorer in Slovenian history, moving clear of retired Saso Udovic.

USA player to watch: Clint Dempsey. After being gifted a goal against England, Dempsey will find his attacking talent utilised again on the left side of midfield, with Landon Donovan on the other. Comfortable on the ball, Dempsey's pace and skill when dribbling will ensure Miso Brecko endures a tough afternoon and he will be tasked with providing a lot of the creativity in the final third.

Key battle: Samir Handanovic v Tim Howard. If Slovenia keep a clean sheet then they will have one foot in the next round, so Handanovic will have to be on top form to stop a potent USA attack. The Udinese stopper has caught the eye in Italy this season and, at 6' 5'', is rarely beaten from crosses, while he is often one for the spectacular. At the other end, Everton goalkeeper Howard injured his ribs against England and should play through the pain barrier for his country. One of the best players on the pitch in the first game, his agility and reflexes - as well as his organisation from set pieces - will play a key part in USA's defence.

Trivia: USA are the fourth CONCACAF side to face Slovenia, who have previously played friendlies against Mexico, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago.

Stats: Slovenia have won seven of their last eight matches since losing to England in September. The USA have gone 11 consecutive matches without keeping a clean sheet.

Odds: Slovenia (3.80), USA (2.10) and the draw (3.25) are all on offer at Bet 365, but look for Landon Donovan to score first at 7.50.

Prediction: Slovenia have a real chance of qualifying if they can pull off a result here. Even a draw would be a good result, but USA should have enough in the bank to avoid an upset.

June 17, 2010, 03:52 PM
England under the spotlight (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264046&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

England go into the game against Algeria with the media spotlight well and truly on them after their 1-1 draw with USA. Headlines of 'The Hand of Clod' greeted goalkeeper Robert Green after his error gifted Clint Dempsey an equaliser and there has been much talk over who Fabio Capello will install as his No.1 - keep the faith with Green, or turn to the veteran David James?

It is an unusual situation for Capello's side to be under such pressure, especially after a qualifying campaign that saw them lose just once, but the Italian's secrecy over his team selection has not helped matters and the press have gone into overdrive, creating a frosty atmosphere with the coach that worsened when he snapped at photographers recently.

With injury issues surrounding Ledley King, Jamie Carragher has been called into action at the heart of the defence alongside John Terry and, worryingly, there is now a distinct lack of pace in the centre. Algeria are not blessed with speed at the back either and there were rumours before the game that Jermain Defoe could be given a chance to run at the defenders in place of the lumbering Emile Heskey, with Peter Crouch's height continuing to be used as an option off the bench.

With the pace of Lennon and Johnson down the right, Algeria will look to left-back Nadir Belhadj to hold off their attacks and use his own speed to push them back into their own half. A defensive 4-5-1 formation from their opening game against Slovenia suggests that they won't be pushing forward with that much gusto, but the defeat already on their record means they need a win and should be looking to score early and then sit back. Former Marseille star Karim Ziani will be key to Algeria's hopes in the final third and his combination play with striker Rafik Djebbour could prove their best hope of scoring, especially on the counter attack.

Although this will be the first meeting between England and Algeria, the Three Lions have kept a clean sheet in four of their five World Cup encounters against African sides.

England player to watch: Gareth Barry. A gaping hole in the England midfield was left when Barry went down with an ankle injury before the tournament, and Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were left to try to fill in against USA. Barry is fit again now, so the defensive midfield slot is assured and the balance of the England side is much better. The left-footer will be alongside Lampard, with Gerrard switched to the left, and suddenly England look capable of providing more of an attacking threat.

Algeria player to watch: Hassan Yebda. The 'heart and soul' of the team, Yebda's tracking back and tigerish tackling will assist in keeping the wing threat of England down. But he also has his own box of tricks and is a very capable crosser and dribbler of the ball. While he would want more in terms of a goal return, how he deals with Gerrard on the left of the midfield will determine how Algeria compete.

Key battle: Robert Green v David James v Joe Hart v Faouzi Chaouchi. A rather odd battle perhaps, but whichever England goalkeeper gets the nod in the end will have his hands full with the media spotlight and will be under pressure not to make a mistake. Green is expected to keep the gloves, despite his error against USA and conventional wisdom suggests James will take his place if he is dropped, although Hart has been the man in form of late. Algeria's Chaouchi is under his own pressure after his mistake against Slovenia gifted them the win, so the 'keepers at both ends of the pitch will be key to the game.

Trivia: Algeria's national anthem is called "Qassaman" - (The Pledge). Qassaman was written during Algeria's struggle for independence from French colonial rule. Seventeen of the 23 Algerian players were born in France.

Stats: England have never lost against an African team: 11 wins and four draws, while Algeria have never kept a clean sheet in seven World Cup matches.

Odds: England (1.25), Algeria (12.00) and the draw (6.25) are all on offer at Bet 365, but Steven Gerrard to score last at 8.00 looks a nice bet.

Prediction: England stuttered a bit in the first game, but then so did Algeria. If England get an early goal it will settle the nerves, otherwise it will be tough to break down the Algerian side

June 18, 2010, 03:28 PM
this how the group stand:

slovenia: draw or win, they are into second round. if they lose still can go if usa vs algeria is draw.

usa: win they go through. draw, they go if england dont win

england: win they go. draw, they go if USA lose

algeria: they win and england dont they go , draw or lose they are out.

June 18, 2010, 03:45 PM
US dream is still alive.

June 18, 2010, 03:56 PM
USA will make it through. I totally see them winning against Algeria.

England may not.

June 18, 2010, 11:59 PM
i feel england and algeria will surprise the world by going throgh

USA will regeret about their misallowed goal.

Slovenia will regret squandering a 2 goal lead at HT agaisnt USA.

June 22, 2010, 12:15 PM
Must-win game for under pressure England (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264047&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

The preparations for what could be their final game at the World Cup could not have been worse for Fabio Capello's men. 'Clear the air' talks followed their drab 0-0 draw with Algeria and John Terry's press conference where he stated some of his worries over the coach's decisions gained criticism from the media and, indeed, the coach, who called it a ''very big mistake''.

Add in Wayne Rooney being forced to apologise for his rant at fans after the game, plus injury and suspension crippling the centre of defence and it has not been a happy trip to South Africa thus far for England. A lack of ambition and creativity has been in evidence since Emile Heskey slipped the ball to Steven Gerrard to score their first goal just four minutes into their campaign and calls have come for Joe Cole to be introduced on the left in a 4-3-3 formation. Certainly, changes will come, and Capello won't underestimate England's opponents with the side he eventually picks.

The Italian could hand Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe his first start at the Finals after he paired the striker with Rooney in a crucial training session ahead of the match.

Slovenia are the shock leaders of Group C after they dismissed Algeria thanks to another goalkeeping error and then held the USA to a 2-2 draw. Confidence may have ebbed after their second-half performance against the States saw them surrender a two-goal lead, but they can take great heart from an attacking performance that had many observers in awe of their skill and team spirit.

While Slovenia can seal their progress to the second round with a point, England need to win to be certain of progressing. In fact, they desperately need to win as nothing less than a 3-3 draw would get them through if the USA somehow contrives to draw 0-0 with Algeria. Any US win, plus an England draw and the Three Lions go home in disgrace.

Slovenia player to watch: Miso Brecko. The right-back had an excellent first half against the USA, but things slipped in the second and he will be under the microscope to attack the frailties on England's left flank. He has stated that Ashley Cole is one of his role models, and will come into direct competition with the Chelsea defender as he bombs down the wing, but will have to be at his very best to stop the threat offered at the other end.

England player to watch: Matthew Upson. With Ledley King injured and Jamie Carragher suspended, the pressure falls on the West Ham man to quickly form a good partnership with Terry at the heart of the defence. Strong in the air and a committed tackler, he is not blessed with great pace but is seen as a better option than the young Michael Dawson. West Ham players have not had the best of luck in the tournament so far - Robert Green and Valon Behrami in particular - so Upson will have to battle hard to turn his side's fortunes around.

Key Battle: Marko Suler v Wayne Rooney. For nearly 50 minutes against the USA, Suler looked composed and comfortable snuffing out any attacking surges with good positioning and committed aerial play. However, as the Slovenians sat back, they were more exposed and Suler's influence waned. He will find Rooney a far tougher prospect that other strikers in the group but the Manchester United man has failed to find the back of the net in over 10 hours of action for England. Rooney's form for his country is the subject of much debate in the English media, as is his temperament for the big occasion, but if the Three Lions have any hopes of qualifying they will need him back at his best.

Trivia: In 1950, England were famously humiliated by USA - they lost to Spain and victory over Chile didn't see them qualify - while in 1958, England drew with Brazil, Soviet Union and Austria and then lost a play-off to the Soviets. These are the only two occasions England have not escaped the group stage.

Stats: England have failed to win any of their last five first round matches against a fellow European side, while Slovenia have lost just one of their last nine international games since losing 2-1 to England in a friendly in September 2009, winning seven of these matches.

Odds: Slovenia (7.50), England (1.44) and a draw (4.33) are all available at Bet 365, but Frank Lampard to score first could come in at 7.50.

Prediction: England surely can't be as bad they were against Algeria and knowing they have to win could be the spark they need to get the result. Nothing else is good enough.

June 22, 2010, 12:17 PM
USA favourites to break down Algeria (http://soccernet.espn.go.com/preview?id=264048&league=FIFA.WORLD&cc=4716&ver=global)

The stakes are high, as a win in this game for either side will seal their progress to the next round if England fail to beat Slovenia. The odds are stacked towards the USA as they have made it to the second round three times in their history, while Algeria have never progressed that far.

With a second-half performance in the 2-2 draw against Slovenia to take heart from, the USA's biggest challenge will be to banish the painful memory of the first half, and also ignore the vitriol spouted in the press from the disallowed goal that would have put them in a much better position to qualify. How they react in their first foray back onto the pitch since that incident will be key to their hopes of qualification, but they have a good recent record against African sides, winning two out of two and keeping a clean sheet in the process.

Underdogs Algeria have only hit the back of the net once in six games (from a penalty) and have lost their only games against CONCACAF opponents in the past. If the Algerians can manage to overcome the striking issues that have seen them fail in front of goal then a famous win could be on the cards, but the USA will be fully focused on righting the wrongs of the previous game.

USA player to watch: Landon Donovan. Donovan is the all-time top-scorer for the United States with 43 goals in 125 caps and will equal the USA's all-time record of 11 appearances at the World Cup finals, currently held by Cobi Jones and Earnest Stewart. His pace and vision were wasted in the first half against Slovenia, but he played a vital part in the turnaround and will, once again, be the most important player for the side in the attacking third.

Algeria player to watch: Rais M'Bolhi. Having overtaken the unpredictable Faouzi Chaouchi in the starting line-up following his error against Slovenia in the opener, M'Bolhi was a solid performer against England even though he was not tested to his fullest extent. Just 24, the experience has done him the world of good and if the Algerians have realistic hopes of beating the USA and making it to the next stage, he will have to be on top form.

Key Battle: Jozy Altidore v Rafik Halliche. The focal point of the USA attack, Altidore has not lit up the World Cup thus far, but has always had an impact on the games. Having recovered fully from injury that hindered his preparations, Altidore's strength and pace up front will be a test for his opponents. Halliche was one of the stars of the African Cup of Nations and, brave and strong, will not be easy to get past. He also has youth on his side, so it could be an intriguing battle.

Trivia: Since the 1950 World Cup, the United States have lost all of their third and final matches in the opening group stage.

Stats: Algeria have scored just once in their last six matches - a penalty against the United Arab Emirates in a World Cup warm-up.

Odds: USA (2.00), Algeria (3.75) and a draw (3.50) are all available at Bet 365, but a 2-0 win for the USA comes in at 9.00.

Prediction: Algeria are tough to break down but offer little in attack. As long as Bradley gets his tactics right, they should have enough to score and pick up the win.

June 23, 2010, 11:06 AM
so at the end its ....

USA - group winners
England - Runners up

Slovenia - out, well played though, u had one foot in the 2nd round when u were leading 2-0 agaisnt USA but could not hold the lead. that was the moment for u.

Algeria - never threatened to qualify but played well to trouble the bigger teams.