2010 FIFA World Cup: United States Vs. England Top Players
As the first day of World Cup action nears a close, it’s clear that the tensions are high and the tournament will be an absolutely struggle for every squad.
But in Revolutionary War, Part Two, England and the United States are raring to destroy one another in a rivalry stretching over 200 years.
These two teams hate each other, and may have the most emotion-filled opening round game.
While neither team is a favorite to run the table for the championship, both have the weapons to make solid runs and contend.
But first, they have to face each other.
England may be favored to win the match, but the game will inevitably come down to whoever can put their top guys into favorable positions and build momentum.
These teams can maintain cushions pretty well, so quick, balanced starts will be key to their successes.
So who has the edge? Probably whichever squad with the better individual performances, since both teams have that talent to abuse the other.
10. Jamie Carragher, England
While he may be one of the elder statesmen for the Brits, Carragher is not one to be underestimated.
The 32-year-old has developed into a jack of all trades, as he has played all of the back positions in his career, which gives his squad versatility and experience.
The English defender is known for his unbelievable dedication to his team, throwing him self around to do anything for his team.
Being a veteran, his experience gives him excellent knowledge of his position and location on the field and how to attack certain teams.
However, his age is his biggest detractor.
His speed has always been one of his biggest weaknesses, which could be trouble against some of the quicker forwards for the U.S.
His lack of aerial ability has also cost him some value, which he will need to recover in order to leave his mark on the pitch.
9. David James, England
Don’t let the commonplace name fool you. There’s nothing commonplace about James’ stellar career with England.
It’s not a coincidence that he holds the Premier League record for the most clean sheets.
The 39-year-old goalie has a lot of experience under his belt, but that needs to be translated to the pitch. But he remains an excellent shot stopper due to his great knowledge of angles.
He puts this into motion by playing bigger than his size and cutting off attack early and often.
But what James has in intelligence, he lacks in random bouts of stupidity. He has small lapses of judgment, especially on cross kicks.
If England wants a chance to get past the U.S. and advance far into the World Cup, James will have to step up and count on his defense to repel the attack.
8. Oguchi Onyewu, United States
The United States has to be absolutely ecstatic to have Onyewu back on the squad and ready for the World Cup. After suffering a serious knee injury during his time with AC Milan, it was hard to tell if the defender would be in good enough shape to help the U.S. compete.
And if Onyewu is on his game, watch out. At 6’4”, 201 lbs., the 28-year-old has the skills to out-muscle most of the forwards around, as well as the size to damage the British attack.
His physical play and aerial ability make him a huge force on the back line, something the U.S. desperately needs to come out of the pool.
But the cloud of uncertainty over him still remains. Before he was injured, Onyewu was susceptible to players who attack him off the dribble.
If that knee isn’t all fixed, he’s going to be given the blown by frequently. That can’t happen if the U.S. wants to win.
7. Steven Gerrard, England
Gerrard is one of the top midfielders in English history, and he will have to come up big if he wants to keep that title. With a mountain of international experience, the 30-year-old will need to provide the balance and poise on the pitch to set the tone for his team.
When the Brits need someone to lean on, you can guarantee they go to Gerrard. His endless motor and long distance striking ability makes him a threat anywhere on the attack, and his superb vision make him a top focus for the Yanks.
If the U.S. wants a way to frustrate the Brit, make him try to show them up. The midfielder is known for going flashy in unnecessary moments, and his lack of discipline can throw off the team chemistry, which is key to World Cup success.
6. Clint Dempsey, United States
Dempsey’s play in the MLS already made him a lock for the U.S. squad, but he wanted more.
His tremendous drive made him a Premier League star, where he has been scoring often with Fulham, and he brought that to the national team during the Confederation’s Cup.
Dempsey biggest asset is his energy.
Even as a midfielder, he seems to home to the ball and can be an indispensable weapon if he is allowed to run free by Bob Bradley.
His attacking instincts are unmatched on the U.S. squad, and his experience is vital to their success.
The one area that the British can attack is his vision.
Check out more from Ross at LA Sports Examiner and follow him on Twitter at Rossel64.
While Dempsey is an excellent scorer, putting some traffic in front of him can make him defer to other players, something England would love to see.
5. Jozy Altidore, United States
As one of the U.S.’ biggest players in their World Cup qualifying matches, Jozy Altidore has the flash and flair that a forward his age can turn into an advantage.
He has shown his ability in international play, putting up six goals in 13 appearance during the squad’s run to South Africa.
The 20-year-old uses youth to his advantage, which will come in handy against the older Brits.
He has the speed and instincts normally displayed by more experienced players, but his attacking ability from the forward slot will make him critical in the U.S. attack.
But his lack of experience haunts him as well.
No experience on this kind of stage, and his struggles playing in Spain raise questions about whether he will bring his international or club play to the pitch when he faces the British defenders.
4. Tim Howard, United States
Some may ask why the U.S. keeper is much higher on the list than his British counterpart.
This is solely because as Howard goes, the Yanks go. He is the emotional leader of the team, and makes an effect on his teammates play more than just in goals allowed.
The 31-year-old has an incredible run during the qualifying push for the U.S., playing in 13 games that gave him some good experience to carry over to the World Cup. His ball-handling and agility between the sticks made him a solid contributor with Everton, something that must come with him to South Africa to give his team a chance.
However, Howard will be under a lot of pressure during the tourney, which could weigh him down a bit. Goalies are usually the first to get blame in losses, and if the British attack hits him hard and fast, he could crumble under the pressure.
And in the first match, that just can’t happen.
3. Frank Lampard, England
It’s no coincidence Lampard has put his mark all over Chelsea’s success.
The man is a bona-fide stud, as his growth and attacking skills have made him one of the most complete midfielders in the world.
As part of one of the top midfield tandems with Gerrard, the 31-year-old, has the consistency and passing range that make him invaluable to the English attack.
His strengths lie in his power from distance, which can be critical against Tim Howard, and his passing to his fellow attackers.
Lampard’s fitness has been under fire as of late, and his lack of versatility makes him a harder fit than most.
But the biggest issue, and the reason he is higher on the list than Gerrard, is that he has often had trouble working with his teammates, which will create a lot of trouble if he can’t turn it around.
2. Landon Donovan, United States
Landon Donovan is the heart and soul of American soccer.
He had been renowned in the States as soccer star, and he finally got his skill to translate to the European pitch when he joined Everton.
He became a force with the Toffees, and any success the U.S. plans on having depends on the California native.
Donovan has that “it” factor.
He doesn’t do anything that makes him a world’s greatest, but he has the intangibles that make him indispensable.
He shows a perseverance every time out that is hardly matched, and his ability to control the pace will be valuable against the British.
But very similar to Howard, the pressure could be a problem. Even more so than Howard, Donovan has become the face of U.S. soccer, and that kind of responsibility can make him tighter.
If the U.S. wants a slimmer of hope of advancing from pool play, they need Donovan to show why he became the face in the first place.
1. Wayne Rooney, England
Consistently listed as one of the top-five players on the planet, Rooney determines exactly how far the Brits get in the World Cup.
He has been in the spotlight for quite a while now, so he knows the pressures and exactly what needs to get done to accomplish the country’s goals.
Unlike Lampard, Rooney excels in his execution with his teammates.
His passion for the game and incredible passing ability make him an ideal superstar for this team.
Also, there is no denying his ability to score. He didn’t become one of the world’s best forwards by accident.
Rooney’s only weakness? Maintaining his cool.
The 24-year-old is still young and easily prone to frustration and losing his head in key situations. He needs to learn from the last World Cup where Zidane lost his poise and cost France a chance at glory.
England needs his head in every game, and will not survive any lapses in judgment from their star.