England and the World Cup

Okay, so the World Cup has begun.  I've actually been so incredibly busy over the past few weeks both at home and work, that I haven't had the usual anxious feelings of looking forward to the first game.  But now the first game is done and in the books, I can't wait for the other games...especially the England v USA game tomorrow.

Let's talk about the first game.  The first half wasn't anything to write home about apart from a couple of goal chances, but the second half was more exciting.  I must admit, I was kind of hoping South Africa would win, especially after they took the lead.  I have nothing against the Mexican team, it's just that I think there is more excitement generated while ever the host country is still involved.  A draw was perhaps a fair result, I don't think anyone could have argued if South Africa would have won.

Although I am looking forward to the England game tomorrow, I must admit I'm a little nervous.  USA typically come to a World Cup fresh and in great condition and capable of scoring an upset.  England on the other hand come into World Cups with players that are physically and mentally worn out.  And if that wasn't enough, when I look through the team, I don't see anything "special" other than Rooney.  I guess you could make the argument for Lampard being world class, but he has never really produced his club form for England.  Gerrard is one of my favorite players in the world, but he seems to be slowing down physically and has been below par most of the season.  Then there is the usual problem of Gerrard and Lampard not playing well together as center mids.  Is there anyone else that the opposition would really be scared of?  I can't think of anything.

But these are not excuses.  England doesn't need excuses.  But there is one intangible that has me wondering how it will affect them...and that is the John Terry escapade.  I know Wayne Bridge isn't in the squad, some of the players are good friends with Bridge and some with Terry or both of them.  So I don't know if the dynamics of that will have any affect or if there is any effect it will have on Terry.

Here is my prediction for England.  They won't underperform or overperform by much.  They will advance out of their group and if they are the stronger team when in the knockout stages, they might scrape through or find a way to lose.  If they aren't the stronger team, I don't see them winning a knockout game.  Similar to the last World Cup I suppose.

Score against the USA, I will go for 2-1 to England.  I think USA stand a good chance of scoring as England looked wide open and vulnerable against Mexico, but I am hoping they can sneak out a win.

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