With both teams likely to qualify from this group, this game may ultimately decide who tops it and seeks to avoid the unenviable task of playing Germany in the second round.
Revitalised under Fabio Capello, England are one of the early tournament favourites and have a strong squad throughout. USA, despite a great second-place finish against Brazil in the Confederations Cup – beating Spain along the way – simply do not have the credentials to beat England.
Rated 14th in the World, a number of players will be familiar to English audiences – their keepers Tim Howard, Brad Guzan and Marcus Hahnemann all play in England, along with Jonathon Spector, Stuart Holden, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey. But their brightest star, Landon Donovan, is the man to watch: still only 28, he is their all-time leading goal-scorer with 42 goals in 123 appearances – all as a support striker.
Fast and athletic, USA lack the cutting edge, despite that incredible win over Spain. Mystery surrounds England’s starting line-up but the players have said they want James as keeper, likely to be guarded by Ashley Cole, King, Terry and Johnson. In midfield, the signs are that club-less Joe Cole will receive a surprising starting berth with out of favour Wright-Phillips, with the centre pairing of Gerrard and Lampard supplying Crouch and the formidable Wayne Rooney.
Certainly an England win, though USA have bite to them. Impossible not to see Crouch getting some joy against a very unfit Milan defender Oguchi Onyewu. Not as close-run as Group A, this should see a difficult England victory.