Algeria — Expected to be one of the worst teams, but playing in Africa, you can’t rule out a surprise.
England — Fabio Capello’s side is the favorite, but injuries have hit them hard (Ferdinand, Barry).
Slovenia — Allowed six goals in the final 12 qualifiers. Could frustrate opponents and bunker down.
USA — No excuse not to get out of this group. Offense has playmakers, but defender is a big concern.
Player to watch: Wayne Rooney, England (best true forward in the game? most think so)
Big game: England v. USA, June 12, 11:30 a.m. PT (maybe the best group-stage game of ’em all)
Prediction: I think every prediction I’ve seen has the English winning and the Americans as runners-up. I’d love to make some wild picks, but I happen to agree. I do think the USMNT defense will keep things interesting, but the horses up front will score more than one goal, like they did in 2006 (not counting the Italian own goal).
1. England 9 pts.
2. United States 6 pts.
3. Slovenia 3 pts.
4. Algeria 0 pts.