BRENT LATHAM - Friday, December 4, 2009
After years of being up against some of the toughest the World Cup had to offer in the first round, Bob Bradley and crew will have no excuse in South Africa, having been drawn in arguably the easiest of the eight.

The United States will open play against colonial power England in Rustenburg on June 12th, the same venue in which they ran to a 3-0 defeat of Egypt in the Confederations Cup this past June.

The US will also take on Slovenia, making their second World Cup appearance, on June 18th in Johannesburg, before wrapping up play in nearby Pretoria five days later against African upstarts Algeria, in their first World Cup since 1986.

The Americans will also have the unique advantage of playing all three games in familiar surroundings, after having played matches in Pretoria, Rustenburg, and Johannesburg during the Confederations Cup. The Americans will also play all three games in a relatively compact area, while most teams will travel extensively around South Africa.

Friday's draw started off in a perhaps less than ideal manner for the Americans, as they were drawn into Group C with series head England, which has had an easy time in European qualifying under Italian coach Fabio Capello. Coach Bob Bradley had looked on as Mexico instead looked fortunate to be immediately drawn into Group A with hosts South Africa.

Luck turned rapidly, however, as the third team to be drawn into Group C was Algeria, likely the weakest team in Pot C, followed by the Slovenians, among the lower-regarded teams from the European pot.

The Americans also avoided a potential second round matchup with tournament favorites Brazil and Spain.

The top two teams from Group C will take on the first and second place teams from Group D - potentially the Group of Death - consisting of Germany, Ghana, Australia, and Serbia.
Thursday December 10, 2009 8:21 am
I agree with you Chris ,,the group is very easy for England ,, but there futbol are not even near the favorites Brazil ,Spain, Nigeria,Portugal,even Germany,Argentina and France you guys are in the group of Italy ,Paraguay,Chile,Greace,Slovenia,Denmark and Korea,good luck ,,and enjoy your group for now
Tuesday December 8, 2009 12:20 am
Though the lottery draw placed US on one of the easiest groups ,
it still a tough group to qualify. England as we all know will have a
easy qualifier, as they have the best players of any of the other teams.
Algerias median age is 22, and has several players playing on good italian serie A teams and bundesliga, on the other hand Slovenia has most of its players in the bundesliga ,France and Italy. They did away with Poland and Czech republic and Russia due to their strong defense and because they have a very organized tactical team.
Now , how does this compare to the US team were things are improvised, from game to game there is hardly a defined organized team approach and coaching skills are definitively questionable.

I hope Im wrong but any of the other teams have had a much harder competition in their qualifying groupsand thus their not used to squandering goal opportunities like theUS has done all throughout Concacaf qualifiers. Hope the USSF wises up and gets a decent coach
before the world cup. Even Bora would be better than Bradley
Monday December 7, 2009 3:29 pm
Monday December 7, 2009 12:06 pm
mr. robert, if the trolls at ussf, as you refer to them, gave hiddink a shot at slovinia, wouldnt it really be his third try against this team?
Monday December 7, 2009 9:49 am
Quick note to Jim. June is Winter in S. Africa because of the Southern Hemisphere so no luck of the European teams wilting in the heat. Would have been nice though.
Dave B
Monday December 7, 2009 9:22 am
We have a 50 % chance of going through in my opinion. We can realistically feel that we have good chances of beating Algeria and Slovenia, but I don't believe that we can feel that we 'should' beat them. We are in the same class they are in, even if we want to think of ourselves as superior in the game.

I am pretty sure that Algeria and Slovenia (to say nothing of England) are also quite happy with their draw.

Save for Mexico, and maybe Honduras, Algeria and Slovenia are probably superior to any CONCACAF team we have faced. We will need to play better and smarter to get into the knock-out rounds at the WC in SA than we did in qualifying.
Sunday December 6, 2009 6:13 pm
While I certainly have some problems with the team, and have MAJOR problems with our coaching staff and strategy... I have absolutely NO problem with this is just plain wonderful, we couldn't have asked for a better draw, and to play the seeded team straight off instead of later when you really know that you NEED to get points is perfect... when you think that we play Algeria last, arguably the weakest team in the couldn't be any better laid out that this draw. Should we be wary of being too cocky and taking teams too lightly, ABSOLUTELY...any team can do damage to any other team on any given day, BUT... just look at what we didn't get stuck with, we drew Algeria instead of Ivory Coast or Ghana...we drew Slovenia instead of Portugal, France, Denmark or Serbia... Yes we face England, but we had to face one strong team and frankly I'd much rather face the English than say, Holland or Brazil or Spain. I've followed the World Cup since '66 and I must say I don't EVER remember watching the draw and feeling... HAPPY, just plain HAPPY!!!

Now If we could get the trolls over at the USSF in Chicago to wise up and give Guus Hiddink a second chance to beat the Slovenians, something he likely has valad thoughts on... and he is rather well versed in how the English play as well, having successfully coached Chelsea... with the right coach and players like Jones and Torres getting on the field with Donovan... we might actually be able to make it to the quarter finals again!!
Sunday December 6, 2009 4:13 am
Europeans wilt in the heat. Teams from warmer climates (e.g., Africa!) will surprise, so value bets will make $$$.
Sunday December 6, 2009 1:15 am
We need to be careful when we say we lucked out with the draw. Four years ago I remember some pundits saying we would ease through the group b/c the Czechs were too old, and Ghana were newcomers. England will be very tough, but do not forget about Algeria and Slovenia. Go USA!!!
Saturday December 5, 2009 10:02 pm
USA were outclassed two separate times by Costa Rica and were literally saved by the referee in San Pedro Sula (and Pavon's dreadful striking). We just got throttled by Denmark and lost to Slovakia.

Our Confederations Cup was the luckiest thing on the planet and the fact that we got into the second round was plain un-American; Italy had the same record as us, beat us, but lost out on goal difference or some such thing.

Oh, and by the way, aside from Tim Howard, none of our players are stars. They're all scrubs.

So how are we rated higher than Slovenia and Algeria? 2nd place in this group is definitely a toss-up. I'm picking Slovenia. They survived a murderous qualifying campaign and finished ahead of the Czech Republic and Poland.
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