England v USA preview

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:54

England v USA preview

England will carry the hopes of an expectant nation on their shoulders when they open their World Cup campaign against USA.
The waiting is almost over and at 7.30pm on Saturday evening Fabio Capello’s side will take to the field in Rustenburg for the first clash of their Group C campaign against Bob Bradley’s men.
Capello has kept the public, the media and, to a certain extent, his players in the dark over who will be named in his starting XI.
But the Italian admitted on Thursday that he already knew his side – injuries permitting – and is sure to have used the closed training session on the same day to put his plans into place.
Questions remain over every aspect of the England side, but much of the debate has focused on who will be handed the goalkeeping duties, with David James, Rob Green and Joe Hart all in contention.
In defence, Capello must select a new central defensive partner for John Terry after captain Rio Ferdinand’s tournament was ended by injury, with Ledley King, Matthew Upson, Jamie Carragher and Michael Dawson available.
Gareth Barry is unlikely to be fit enough to adopt the midfield holding role, although his recovery from an ankle injury has been encouraging, so new skipper Steven Gerrard is expected to partner Frank Lampard at the heart of the pitch.
Wayne Rooney’s troublesome temperament has also generated plenty of column inches, but the Manchester United striker is certain to be England’s focal point in attack.
Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey and Jermain Defoe are options to partner Rooney, unless Capello adopts a five-man midfield with the 24-year-old operating in a lone role up front.
USA may be 6/1 outsiders for success at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, but Bradley’s men must not be underestimated following their exploits at the Confederations Cup last summer, where they beat Spain en route to a narrow final defeat to Brazil.
There will be a host of familiar faces in the USA side as a number of their party have Premier League experience, including the likes of Tim Howard, Jonathan Spector, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey.
Striker Jozy Altidore, who spent last season on loan at Hull City, is expected to be fit to face England after recovering from the ankle problem which kept him out of the 3-1 warm-up victory over Australia.
Bradley is also confident that defender Oguchi Onyewu will be able to complete the full 90 minutes having only recently returned to action from a lengthy lay-off after suffering a patella tendon injury seven months ago.

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