England vs USA – Rooney to prove inspiration
Fabio Capello will not tell his players who is in his starting XI until two hours before the England v USA match, which kicks off at 7.30pm.
Regardless of the side selected, though, England will be expected to win and are 1/2 to do so.
All eyes will be on Wayne Rooney (there is a special market on what he will do first in the match), and such is his style of play it’s innevitable he’ll make his presence felt early on. He’s the unsurprising first goalscorer favourite at 3/1.
England haven’t lost any of their last three opening World Cup games, beating Paraguay 1-0 and Tunisia 2-0, and drawing 1-1 with Sweden.
USA, by contrast, have an erratic opening game record. They lost 3-0 to Czech Republic in their first match at the 2006 tournament, beat Portugal 3-2 four years before that and lost 2-0 to Germany at the 1998 event.
However, Bob Bradley’s USA team should not be underestimated. They are the only team to have beaten Spain in nearly three years and have Premier League quality throughout the squad.
Clint Dempsey has had a superb season at Fulham and has 18 goals in 62 internationals. He’s 4/1 to score at any time.
Jozy Altidore should start up front and if he repeats the forceful displays he put on while on loan at Hull City, the 20-year-old is sure to trouble the England defence. He’s got nine goals for the USA in 25 games and is 10/1 to open the scoring.
After a poor run of five losses from six matches, USA have won their last two against Turkey and Ausralia, while England have won three on the trot.
Neither side is particularly good at stopping the oppostion from scoring. England have one clean sheet in nine internationals while USA haven’t recorded a shut out in ten.
Indeed, while first matches at World Cups are usually tight and tentative affairs, it would be worth backing over 2.5 goals at evens.
It seems likely that a sprightly and well-drilled USA team will prove enough of a hassle to breach England’s backline but Fabio Capello’s men should have too much at the other end. A 2-1 England win is 7/1, while with Rooney first goalscorer added in is an enticing 18/1.