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.
Saturday December 5, 2009 3:53 pm
Considering, that there is at leas one soccer field in every small town in america, and game is gaining popularity, I simply don't understand the strategy of american soccer federation. Bob bradley is trying best he is capable of and I truly like his son michael, but he was not groomed to be a world class soccer coach like hidding or wenger. He doesn't possess the expertise noe experience. We have the talent pool, but are unwilling to pay world class coaching talent to prepaire best possible team for the world cup. Go figure.
Saturday December 5, 2009 7:59 am
//colonial power England//

The USA gained independence from the British (not English) Empire more than 200 years ago - can't you think of anything more original and up-to-date to say about England?
Saturday December 5, 2009 1:42 am
usa are going to throttle algeria. algeria are old and slow and really half of them are french and they play in the second division in france. we have the added advantage of playing algeria in the last game of the group stage, when they will be very worn down.
slovinia will be the middle game, which is historically the best game for usa, such as italy in 06 or columbia in 94, even italy in 90 was the second game and probably the best we played.

so this leaves england in the first game and the order of the games could not have been more perfect. england will be under much more pressure to get out of the gates early. clearly the best thing england have going for them is their coach, but in the end, he might actually work against them because he is in fact not english. we have to wait and see.
so usa qualifies first in the group and we have juicy second round matchups with maybe serbia, a chance to hit back at subotic, hard and ghana, redemption for 06. the best matchup though, hands down, has got to be a possible quarter finals matchup with el bandito.
Saturday December 5, 2009 1:14 am
Totally agree with rmilla and others with positive thoughts: this is a great draw for the US and let's enjoy it.

Group of Death: I added the rating scores for each group using the ELO scores (which I trust more that FIFA's). Accordingly, the "toughest" group is H (Spain, Switz, Honduras, Chile). The US was drawn into the 2nd weakest group, with the "weakest" being group F (Italy, Paraguay, New Zealand, Slovakia).

The points totals for each group are as follows: H 7418, E 7321, G 7197, D 7194, B 7107, A 7039, C 6962, and F 6841.

The real Group of Death might be E, with three equal strength sides (Denmark, Japan, and Cameroon) all competing for just one spot in the 2nd toughest group overall dominated by the Netherlands.
Friday December 4, 2009 7:20 pm
We got a great draw. Why not simply enjoy it for a little while. I can't believe the level of complaining and self doubt. What should the US National Team and coach Bradley do; say we can't win and not even play? What would it take to make you guys happy?
Friday December 4, 2009 5:11 pm
I don't understand why people say Mexico has it easy. Look at the difference in the team they play vs who USA plays!

Mexico vs. France/Uruguay/South Africa

USA vs. England/Slovenia/Algeria

You can't tell me Slovenia and Algeria are considered better than Uruguay or S. Africa?

Also, USA Group is easy for only one team "ENGLAND." USA will still have a tough time. The moment USA is humble and doesn't say they have it easy will be the moment they actually do good. USA usually plays BAD against mediocre teams and WELL against good teams. They are inconsistent; precisely because USA thinks they are better than a Slovenia or Algeria...
Friday December 4, 2009 4:12 pm
Great draw. None of the seeds except South Africa would be easy. England is no exception and it will be a great game. If we come out of that game with a point or even keeping it close we'll be sitting pretty. Overall we have no excuses. Go out there and get it done boys!
Friday December 4, 2009 4:05 pm
The group of death is definitely not D. It's G or H. Despite having injury problems (which we cant control) it was probably the most favorable we could ask for. We couldnt honestly expect to get 3 weak teams. There really are no excuses here, these are all matches in which the US can compete. Not saying were favorites against england, but we also werent favorites against spain last year. We've shown that we can surprise teams that dont respect us, but we've also shown that we play to the level of our opponents. Which is usually not a good thing. This is a chance for us to grow up a bit.
Friday December 4, 2009 4:03 pm
The US will qualify for the second round. You should beat both Slovenia and Algeria. England will be tough for you.

Look at the second round if you get through. Germany are no longer the team they were, and are one of the weaker seeds. Australia, Serbia and Australia are decent teams, but you should challenge any of them. That could put you in the quarter-finals, and who knows from there?
Friday December 4, 2009 4:00 pm
Why exactly can't we recover from a loss against England? Hell, we lost TWO games in a row in the confed cup, and went on to the final. I think it might actually be beneficial, give us more motivation for the games we knew we were going to have to win anyway.

Slovenia isn't going to be a pushover, but let's face it. If we can't make it out of this group, it will be a massive failure.
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