Landon Donovan Tells FIFA: We Can Beat Any Team When We Play Our Best

Ron FurlongAnalyst IIMay 10, 2010

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 04:  Professional soccer player and member of the US National Soccer Team Landon Donovan poses for photos at the FIFA World Cup final draw viewing event hosted by Visa at ESPN Zone in Times Square on December 4, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Visa)
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Landon Donovan is positively brimming with confidence. For the American International, it really began showing over the winter in his loan with Everton FC.

Donovan played brilliantly in his first stint in the Premier League, winning over staunch Everton fans and players alike.

His confidence has spilled over to his return to his American club, the L.A. Galaxy.

With David Beckham sidelined with injury, Donovan has stepped up and asserted himself. The Galaxy captain has led them to a great start in the MLS season, with 22 points through eight games.

Los Angeles is 7-0-1.

Donovan, the United States all-time leader in goals scored and assists, will lead the American squad in one month's time into South Africa for the World Cup.

The Americans go into the tournament ranked 14th.

Four years ago they were ranked fifth, and promptly had a poor group stage and did not advance. They did have a brilliant game against Italy, who would go on to win the cup in Germany.

But it was still a huge disappointment for Donovan and U.S. soccer.

Donovan is 28, and in his football prime. He is the owner of six U.S. Player of the Year awards, and last year was the MLS MVP.

He is by far the most experienced player internationally for the American squad with over 120 caps. He makes great runs and is a brilliant passer. His touch with the ball is world class. He also takes almost all set piece duties for the U.S.

On Saturday, Donovan was nothing shy than brilliant in the Galaxy's 4-0 win against Seattle FC. He had three assists (his league leading total up to nine) and a goal.

He has been assisting on Edson Buddle's goals all year, as Buddle has a league leading nine goals.Donovan is trying to get his Galaxy teammate a spot of the U.S. squad in South Africa.

Buddle was able to return the favor to Landon on Saturday, setting up Donovan with a brilliant pass in front of the net that he buried.

Donovan was recently asked in an interview by FIFA how far he thought the United States could go in South Africa.

"I won't make predictions but, as I said earlier, we feel that we are good enough to beat any team in the world if we play our best. The challenge will be to bring that effort to every game..."

He also was asked about matching up with England in the very first game.

"The scheduling of the games is beyond our control. England happens to be our first game, and we will put everything we have into winning that game and worry about the rest later, as they come."

The United States finds themselves in Group C, with England, Algeria and Slovenia.

The top two clubs, England and the U.S., would seem likely to be the two to advance, but neither squad should take anything for granted and must respect the other two, specifically Slovenia.

The first matchup becomes very critical for the U.S. and England should one of the two lose the game. That team would then, more than likely, have to win both remaining games to advance.

Donovan was also asked in the FIFA interview if he thought this was the best team he has been a part of for the U.S. This will be Landon's third World Cup.

"It's hard to know where this team ranks compared to the other American teams," he said, "but I'm confident that this team has the ability to do something special."

The United States is battling some injuries heading into the tournament.

Although forward Clint Dempsey has fully recovered from his winter injury, it appears the Americans will be without the services of Oguchi Onyewa and Charlie Davies.

Other key players for the Americans include keeper Tim Howard and youngster Jozy Altidore.

The U.S. is coached by Bob Bradley, who has been at the helm of this team for almost four years now and has them playing very well.

The Americans have two friendlies in the States in late May, then travel to South Africa a little early to play a friendly with Australia.

The World Cup starts June 12th for the U.S. with the big showdown with England.


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