So, the draw has been made and, on paper, England can be pretty pleased with their luck. Here’s my thoughts on the teams we face with a bit of trivia thrown in for good measure.
FIFA Ranking – 14
The USA aren’t really recognised for their “Soccer” prowess but have a couple of World Cup highlights and records that they can be proud of, none more so than the fact they were part of the first two World Cup matches which took place simultaneously on July 18th 1930. USA beat Belgium 3-0 and, incidentally, the other result was the French beating Mexico 4-1.
In the 1950 WC the Yanks managed to humiliate an England side that were labelled ‘The Kings of Football’ by spanking them 1-0. The English were 3 to 1 on winning the old Jules Rimet trophy and were widely regarded as the best team on the planet! Oh how the mighty can fall. Joe Gaetjens, who scored the winning goal was arrested at gunpoint by Haiti secret police in 1964, and was never seen again!
The states hosted the WC in ’94 which was meant to kick start their new soccer revolution but it still hasn’t really quite hit the heights of the other big American sports.
My prediction for the USA:
Runners up in group C, will be knocked out in the last 16.
FIFA Ranking – 26
The Algerian national team was formed in 1958, yet didn’t become a member of FIFA until 1963.
The Algerians have only featured in 2 World Cups, the first (and best effort) being in 1982 where they produced the biggest ever WC shock by actually beating West Germany 2-1. They then backed that up with a 3-2 win over Chile. Sadly a 2-0 defeat to the Austrians saw them get knocked out of the group stage on goal difference.
So, the Algerians WC stats look very good for a lesser known footballing nation: P6 W2 D1 L3 GF6 GA10.
My prediction for the Algerians:
Dark Horses and could run the USA close and nick a runners up spot in group C. England need to be on their game to get past a potential banana skin!
FIFA Ranking – 33
Slovenian players played for Yugoslavia before it split in 1991. So Slovenia have no real World Cup pedigree to speak of, only qualifying once previously in 2002 where they lost all 3 games conceding 7 goals and scoring only twice. Again, not to be underestimated but will do well not to finish bottom of Group C.
My prediction for the Slovenians:
No Chance. So that will mean they’ll batter England 4-0!