It may be the country that invented the game, but England has only once won the World Cup, on home soil back in 1966. Since then, when it has qualified, it has all too often been knocked out on penalty kicks, the most excruciating way to lose. But and stop us if you've heard this one before could this World Cup actually be different? England's fearsome Italian coach Fabio Capello has put the fear of God into the notoriously boorish team, banning cell phones and casual clothing, and its qualification process was a cakewalk. England will be hoping to at least reach the semifinals, and it got a positive start with a favorable draw. Its toughest opposition will come from the U.S., which played Brazil in the finals of last summer's World Cup warm-up Confederations Cup tournament. The Americans have the psychological edge of having beaten England 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup arguably the greatest upset in the history of the game. The U.S., most of whose players now compete in the English Premier League, is likely to follow England out of the group; fans of Algeria and Slovenia are advised against making travel arrangements beyond the group stage.
Predicted Finishing Order
1. England 2. U.S. 3. Algeria 4. Slovenia
Next Group D