Former Bundesliga stars from US, England talk about their countries′ clash | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 12.06.2010
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Former Bundesliga stars from US, England talk about their countries' clash

England's Tony Woodcock, as well as Tony Sanneh and Kasey Keller of the USA, had successful spells in Germany's top flight - and at past World Cups with their national teams. DW gets their thoughts on Saturday's clash.

England's Wayne Rooney, left, American Landon Donovan, right

England's Wayne Rooney goes up against American Landon Donovan on Saturday

Ever since the World Cup draw last December, American and English fans have been looking toward the two nations' Group C opener in Rustenburg on Saturday. Former national players from the two teams are no exception.

Tony Woodcock

Woodcock thinks England won't be upended on Saturday in Rustenburg

The bookmakers have England as firm favorites, which former England and FC Cologne striker Tony Woodcock sees as justified, but says it will be a demanding fixture.

"It's not going to be an easy one. We know that a lot of players from the United States are playing all over the place," said the 1982 World Cup veteran. "We also know that American players are very fit, physically, and look after themselves very well."

He said it would be key for England to get a win in the game so that they wouldn't be behind the ball against Algeria and Slovenia.

Big challenge

Tony Sanneh

Sanneh, left, played with Beckham for the LA Galaxy

Former US national teamer Tony Sanneh said he thought England would be a tough match-up for the US.

"Physically, we match up against most teams in the world very well as far as strength, speed," said the former Hertha Berlin wing player, who played every minute of every match in the US team's run to the World Cup quarterfinals in 2002.

"England, though, is physically a lot like us - but technically and tactically a lot more advanced. It will be a tough game for us because it's difficult to out-run or out-fight them."

Chance to win

One of Sanneh's teammates on that 2002 squad, however, thinks the US has a chance to spring a surprise.

Kasey Keller

Keller reckons England can be beaten - if the US plays its cards right

"We've got a good counter-attack, we've got some good speed that we used in the Confederations Cup last summer," said Kasey Keller, who was also part of the US squad in 1990, 1998 and at the 2006 World Cup in Germany."We've got to withstand the pressure and then break with pace. If we can do that, who knows?"

"I would be surprised if we outshot England, but if we can defend with everything we have and then really take advantage of the opportunities we do have, we'll do well."

Still, the onetime Borussia Moenchengladbach keeper said, England has a size advantage on set pieces through players like Peter Crouch and John Terry, who will be a handful.

"If we give away an early goal, or just give away too many fouls and let them throw some balls in the box and dominate us, we're in for a long day."

Author: Matt Hermann
Editor: Kyle James

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