England could stutter against USA tomorrow



THE tension is building, the car flags are flying and the red and white face paint is out. World Cup 2010 is nearly here and, as always, every England fan is expecting a first major trophy since 1966. The boys have been given a relatively easy group and will be feeling confident of reaching the semi-finals, where they are set to meet Brazil.

There is no doubt that England’s biggest test in Group C is against the USA in Rustenburg tomorrow. The Americans are a much improved side nowadays and I’m sure head coach Bob Bradley will have his troops fired up for this one. They only narrowly missed out on winning last year’s Confederations Cup, beating Spain in the semi-final before conceding a late goal to lose 3-2 against Brazil.

Fabio Capello will obviously want to win the group and avoid Germany in the second round, but we’ve seen in previous tournaments that England don’t always come firing out of the blocks. In 2006, they beat Paraguay 1-0 in the opening game, drew 1-1 against Sweden in 2002, won 2-0 against Tunisia in 1998 and drew 1-1 against Ireland in Italia ’90. The key thing is not to lose the first game and I think the Three Lions are too short at 4/9 with William Hill.

Landon Donovan is the USA’s star man and he showed in his brief stint in the Premier League with Everton just what a decent player he is. Add Fulham’s Clint Dempsey, Hull’s former striker Jozy Altidore and Everton’s Tim Howard to the equation and they will have a good idea of England’s strengths and weaknesses. They are certainly no whipping boys and the draw at 10/3 with Bodog.co.uk looks good value.

I am also interested to see that Sporting Index are quoting goals at 2.6-2.8 in this game. The USA have been involved in some high scoring encounters in the past few months – all of their last seven have produced a minimum of three goals, while the same is true in England’s last three matches. However, none of these have been competitive and it tends to be a very different story at the World Cup. We have already seen that all of England’s last four opening matches at the World Cup have been under the current spread, so there appears to be little downside in selling at 2.6.

On a similar theory, the Sporting Index traders have England as 1.2-1.4 supremacy favourites and that has to be a sell. Their preparation hasn’t been ideal with Rio Ferdinand’s injury and there will be a lot of pressure on John Terry, Ledley King and, of course, Wayne Rooney. I’m not saying England can’t win this game, but I’d be very surprised if they won by more than a goal and the sell at 1.2 means we still have that on our side.

Finally, make sure to sign up for Sporting Index and CityA.M.’s £10,000 Going For Goal Minutes World Cup fantasy football game. All you have to do is pick four strikers, four midfielders and two defenders and you get points according to when your players score in the game. The later they score, the more points you accrue. And don’t forget that it’s totally free to enter – visit

Match to be drawn at 10/3 with Bodog.co.uk
1-1 correct scoreline at 8/1 on Betdaq
Sell total goals at 2.6 with Sporting Index
Sell England supremacy at 1.2 with Sporting Index



THE bookmakers are finding it very difficult to split South Africa and Mexico in the opening game of the tournament which may surprise a few as the Mexicans are ranked 73 places above Bafana Bafana in the FIFA rankings. These two sides have met twice in their history, with one win apiece, the last being a 2-1 success for South Africa in Los Angeles in 2005.

Mexico have won their last two friendlies, including a victory against world champions Italy last time. They have made it to the last 16 in all of the last four tournaments, so will be feeling confident of qualifying. However, they have to face South Africa in their back yard and we all know what an electric atmosphere it’s going to be in Soccer City this afternoon.

The hosts are unbeaten in their last 11 internationals, including recent wins against Denmark and Colombia, and I’m confident they can get their tournament off to a flyer with a win against Mexico. They are 15/8 with Paddy Power and home advantage could just give them the edge in this one. I don’t see it being a high scoring game and neither do the Sporting Index traders who are offering a 2.15-2.35 goals spread. I’ll probably leave that alone, but will have a small bet on the 1-0 scoreline at 7/1 on Betdaq.

South Africa to win at 15/8 with Paddy Power
South Africa to win 1-0 at 7/1 on Betdaq