Can the boys in red, white and blue be taken seriously on the soccer stage?
The USA’s impressive rise from also-rans to an international ‘soccer’ nation to be reckoned with suffered a setback at the 2006 FIFA World Cup when they failed to make it past the group stages. However, after an impressive showing in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, where they beat Spain 2-0 only to narrowly lose to Brazil in the final, Team America are hoping to cause a few upsets in South Africa. With the exception of England, the USA should win all their games in Group C to progress to the last 16.
Bob Bradley It’s the first World Cup for this all-American coach, who took over the team in December 2006 (originally as caretaker manager). Since then he’s proved his worth, despite a dearth of experience coaching outside the US.
Player to watch
Clint Dempsey Many US players have been snapped up by the European leagues, including striker Clint Dempsey. Currently playing for Fulham, he scored against Juventus in the UEFA Europa League, taking the unlikely London team to the final. England beware.
World Cup appearances: 8 Previous best: Semi-finals, 1930 Odds of winning: 75/1 Strange but true: President Barack Obama will only attend the FIFA World Cup if the USA reach the final. Fixtures: England, June 12, 10.30pm, Rustenburg Slovenia, June 18, 6pm, Johannesburg Algeria, June 23, 6pm, Pretoria