World Cup Odds and Picks: England Vs. USA Predictions
by Robert Ferringo - 6/10/2010
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I can already hear the USA soccer haters: “Soccer is a joke! U.S. soccer sucks!” And maybe that’s what World Cup organizers had in mind when they selected the draw for Group C in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The Yanks are set to lock horns with one of the top teams in the field and an old-time rival. A loss in that game would not only be a blow to American confidence (on the pitch, anyway, we still know we can kick your ass at anything else. Except education. And beheadings. And darts.) but it would put the United States in do-or-die mode for their remaining two group games against sneaky Slovenia and Algeria.
The United States begins its World Cup journey at 2:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, June 12 in Rustenburg. And they do so against one of the favorites to win the entire tournament: the No. 8 team in the world, England.
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The Americans are presently No. 23 and they are heavy underdogs against the more accomplished English side. It will take something short of a miracle for our side to coax out three points in this matchup, and if the two clubs were to play right now it would likely end in a bloody, ugly mess for our boys.
And if the United States does lose their first game – as expected – I can assure you that The Haters will come out of the woodwork and do everything they can to mock, ridicule and denigrate our side even though it will still have a strong chance to advance.
But before the U.S. concedes defeat, there is some hope. The United States may not be in England’s class but they have proven that they can beat top European squads, as they did with a 2-0 win over Spain last summer in the Confederations Cup. In fact, the U.S.’s 3-0 victory over Egypt in that tournament came on the very field that they will be taking on the English. The Americans are known for their never-say-die, relentless approach. And no matter who is on the field you always know you are going to get a max effort.
Also, England is a very good team but they aren’t a dominant one. They do everything well but don’t have one aspect of their game that is simply above our rank. For instance, the Brazilians attack is just too much for our defense to handle. And the German defense, in the past, has been an unbreakable code for our attack. But the Brits are very good at everything, great at nothing, so while the U.S. will be the weaker team I don’t know that they’ll be run off the field.
But that’s about all they have going for them. There is nothing but uncertainty surrounding this American club. They are fighting to get healthy and fighting to find any type of form for this critical competition.
A major issue for the Americans is the fact that injuries have zapped any cohesiveness that they may have had heading into the tournament. This has been a particular problem in the defense. The U.S.’s top defender, Oguchi Onyewu, is not even close to being back to 100 percent after knee surgery last fall. Fellow starting back Carlos Bocanegra (sports hernia) is also trying to rebound from surgery and isn’t nearly 100 percent.
But while the U.S. has been sweating the health of its top defenders there is no doubt that the status of Wayne Rooney will have the biggest impact on this game. The English striker is one of the premier players in the world and has been dealing with a myriad of knee, ankle and groin injuries. However, he has declared himself “100 percent” and should give the favorites a big boost.
The United States is just 2-7 against the English since World War II and they haven’t beaten The Three Lions since 1993 (0-3 since). But England is also traditionally a slow starter in major tournaments, winning just twice in the last 10 major tournaments (World Cup and Euro Championship) that they have played in over the last quarter century.
Also, while the Americans are trying to find some chemistry the English are simply trying to stay out of the tabloids. There is always drama surrounding The Three Lions (think Red Sox and Yankees fans, combined, times 1,000 and you have an idea of English soccer fervor) but the last year has been particularly ugly. From internal fighting between Gerrard and Lampard, the off-pitch exploits of key defender Ashley Cole, and the health of Rooney have all dogged this team in recent months.
England surpasses the Americans in experience, skill, coaching and confidence. And you know that the English won’t relent because, well, everyone loves to beat the United States at anything. And I think that facing our squad in the initial game will help keep them sharp and focused. That’s bad news for the Americans.
England vs. USA World Cup Odds:
The United States enters this game as a sizeable underdog. They are posted at +1.0 (+115) and, betting with the Draw, they are +475 to win outright. Compare that to England at -1.0 (-150) and -200 and you can see that hopes aren’t high for the Yanks. The Draw pays +315 and the total is 2.5.
England vs. USA Picks and Predictions:
England Will Win If: They can avoid the slow starts that have plagued them in the past. The overall talent level is far superior for the English and they know that. This will give them the confidence to go right at the Americans, who will likely be on the defensive. England’s straight 4-4-2 has seemed to morph into a bit more of a 4-2-3-1 in qualifying. I think that they will confound the Americans a bit with their attack. And with both skills and tactics on their side they should overwhelm a shaky U.S. defense that has shown a penchant for allowing awful goals in qualifying.
United States Will Win If: England’s injury issues surpass those of the U.S. The United States is always plucky as an underdog. They beat Spain last year in the Confederations Cup and put Brazil to the test. But in general the Americans have always come up short against the traditional powers because they just don’t have the skill level to compete. But if the English are a step slow, or if they are playing tight and feeling the pressure of a nation’s unrealistic expectations, then the U.S. could take advantage of the main chink in the English armor: a weak goalie. However, I think it’s a stretch to expect an American team that is disjointed right now to find its top form against a clearly superior team. At this point a draw would have to be considered a major victory for our side.
Robert Ferringo will be releasing rated selections on the 2010 World Cup this summer. Robert is a long-time soccer aficionado and one of the most exciting handicappers in the industry, and he guarantees a profit through the entirety of the tournament. Sign up today and get on board the Victory Train!
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