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Seen and Heard: World Cup Special 4

Jack Loo | June 8, 2010
The England teams confidence is for real this time, thanks to Fabio Capellos guiding hand

One thing great about the football game is that it makes such a level-playing field. There is something about football with its one ball and 22 men, who are contesting for it on a field that makes it different from the Olympics. There are no 80-plus medals win or seemingly-super athletes from political superpowers, or superpower wannabes.

While the NBA creates the strongest basketball team, the English Premier League does not make England the best team in the World Cup. The US football team, thankfully, does not have the utter dominance that its basketball brethen have.

At every World Cup, the English-speaking global population will proclaim England as one of the favourites. But the truth is that England has only won the World Cup way back in 1966.

Just as it seems that expectations have levelled off this World Cup, this years team does actually stand a very good chance thanks to Italian coach Fabio Capello. He has trained the team into one that knows what to do when it has the ball. Better yet, he has coached the team so that now they know what to do when they do not have the ball.

For a team that lacks star players, the US team produced a giant killing run in the 2009 Confederations Cup, knocking out Spain in the semi-finals and giving Brazil a scare in the finals before losing out. The players would definitely be looking to invoke their 2009 form once more.

The other two teams, Algeria and Slovakia, got into the World Cup via play-offs by beating more illustrious opponents Egypt and Russia respectively.

Algeria lacks experience as it is back at the World Cup after a 24-year absence. But the team management will take comfort from having players who are plying their trade in the European leagues.

Slovakia is only in a marginally better position having played in the previous World Cup. Likewise, there are players who are playing in the European leagues that the management can depend on.

Like Argentina in Group B, England will be looking to top the group. Algeria and Slovakia will want to emulate the US teams giant killing run in 2009 to claim the second spot. Team US will definitely want to create an upset in its first game with England and build its form from there.


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