USA-England: Positional breakdown

Depth, coaching should push Three Lions to win in opener


 

 

The surest bet on the
US squad, undisputed No. 1 Tim Howard is experienced, athletic and
confident.
Although he is not on one of the highest profile clubs in England, he is
one of
the best ‘keepers on the planet.  

 

GOALKEEPING


  

They go into the game without a sure starter. And when your typical
first choice goalkeeper goes by the nickname of Calamity James, it does
not inspire faith. David James is known as much for his gaffes as his
reaction saves.

The fullbacks don’t
nearly contribute in attack as much as the team needs them. Jay DeMerit
is not
a world beater and Oguchi Onyewu is visibly hampered despite his fitness
claims. Lots of weaknesses.

DEFENDERS


Speed (Ashley Cole),
size (Glen Johnson), technique (Ledley King) and experience (John Terry)
… the
England back line packs it all, but that does not make them invincible.
Johnson
and Terry can be victimized by speed.

Two defensive mids plus Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey may not be
as good a match to England when it comes to quality. However, they form
the more complete unit between the two.

MIDFIELDERS

A midfield of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Joe Cole is heavy on
world-class talent, but low on bite and fight. The loss of Gareth Barry
to injury  hurts.

They might have scored goals in recent matches, but the US attacking
corps is unproven on the big stage. When 20-year-old Jozy Altidore is
your go-to guy, depth is a real issue.

FORWARDS

Despite his recent injury setbacks, Wayne Rooney remains one of the
top three players in the world. Peter Crouch is a multi-dimensional
forward who is sure to prove a handful any day of the week.

Bob Bradley’s job depends
on the three matches at the World Cup. Fabio Capello already has an extension
in
place through the European Championships of 2012. There's not much
question here.

MANAGER

This is the World Cup in which English fans expect the Three Lions
to have the mental toughness to take them through the tournament. And
Fabio Capello is the reason.

The US has a lot more versatile and serviceable players, if less
proven. But there is not a single player on the US bench that can be a
game-changer.

BENCH

Capello’s attacking options off the bench are battle-tested and
dangerous: Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jermain Defoe and Emile Heskey.
Consider how far the US has come in just four years, and they should
be thrilled just to be in the conversation with England. Fortunately,
they're not.

OVERALL

Too deep, too talented. England have the horses to make a deep run
into the tournament, even with a few injuries that will hamper their
lineup.