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A new feature on Goal.com...

Welcome to Goal.com - Know Your Rivals for the World Cup 2010!

In this special series we bring you the local knowledge of the world's leading football tournament. With our worldwide team of experts, each one based in the country in question - from Brazil to North Korea - you'll hear first-hand the latest team news, exclusive interviews, and fan opinions of your World Cup opponents.

Stay on Goal.com for all the World Cup build-up from right across the world, starting with predictions of all eight groups from the local experts...


GROUP C

How do the experts of Group C think that the group will go? Here we ask our local experts for their thoughts on their teams' three games, in order of play.

England
With Amar Singh

England-USA 2-1

This match will be fiercely contested by the two strongest teams in the group, both of whom will be desperate for a good start. Whilst the USA team has improved immensely over the past few years, as demonstrated by some excellent results in the Confederations Cup, their midfield lacks the experience and power to mix it up with Premiership stalwarts like Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Gareth Barry. England, under Capello, have shown that they can beat teams they 'should be beating' and will do so again here but probably by no more than the odd goal. David Beckham, who is likely to start on the bench, will be desperate to get on the pitch and make an impact against a team made up of several MLS colleagues.

England-Algeria 2-0

Algeria are a bit of an unknown quantity and will be full of confidence after defeating arch-rivals Egypt to qualify, however, Capello and his team will have done their homework by the Summer and be ready to exploit Algeria's weaknesses.This is the sort of game where you would expect Wayne Rooney to wreak havoc and exploit the space between the Algerian defence and midfield. A brace for the Manchester United striker would seal qualification for England.  

England-Slovenia 2-0

With England possibly assured qualification by this stage Capello could shuffle the pack and bring in the likes of Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, James Milner and Joe Cole - all of whom offer very different attacking qualities. The England squad travelling to South Africa will include players desperate to prove they are worthy of a first team place and when players such as Defoe and Crouch have been given a start they have often got on the score sheet. By defeating Russia over two legs in the play-offs, Matjaz Kek's team showed they are an emerging force. But England will still be too strong for Slovenia, who are well organised but lack the quality to challenge the better teams in the competition. 


USA
With Noah Davis

England-USA 1-1

England is the group favourite - and rightly so - but the Americans have two distinct advantages that will help them during the opening match. 1) They are familiar with the country and, more specifically, the pitch from their Confederations Cup trip this past June, and 2) The Brits won't be expecting the 50-50 split of England and U.S. fans at Royal Bafokeng Stadium. It will take The Three Lions 20 minutes or so to adjust, enough time for Bob Bradley's side to strike (a la its early qualifier in Estadio Azteca). While Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney will lead their side back for the equalizer, the match will end deadlocked.

USA-Slovenia 2-1

Simply put, this is the Red, White, and Blue's most important tilt. Three point here puts the squad in fine position to advance, regardless of what happens during the first match. West Brom's Robert Koren will lead his troops valiantly, but don't expect the same side that defeated Russia; too much time will have elapsed by the time June rolls around. The U.S. will work the wings with Stuart Holden and possibly Robbie Rogers, finding a goal on a set piece and another in the run of play.

USA-Algeria 1-0

Lost in the Americans' inspired run to the Confed Cup final was the fact that for the first time in quite a few tournaments, the U.S. got the result it needed on the last day of the group stage. Expect this trend to continue next summer. The Stars and Stripes will very likely need at least a point to go through, and will earn three. Both sides will play not to lose for 45 minutes, but the Americans will find a Landon Donovan-led counterattack goal after the 70th minute as Algeria grows desperate.


Algeria
With Naim Beneddra

Algeria-Slovenia 2-1

Returning to the continental scene, the Greens will do everything in their power to collect the full three points from their first outing. It will not be an easy feat by any means, but we know what we need to gain from this match if we are to have any hopes of proceeding to the knock-out stages.

Out of the three opponents in our group, Slovenia have the footballing style most similar to our own. Their players are not very well known, but they are talented technicians. With this in mind, I believe this match-up will be a delight to watch, with Algeria having the last word.

Algeria-England 1-3

Nothing would please me more than seeing Algeria triumphing over England, but lets be realistic. With a full strength team and at the peak of our game, we are still no match for the Three Lions. On paper, some may find a small element of our team that we can use to overcome England, but against their physical presence and sheer offensive effectiveness, to believe that we can surpass the English is a whimsical notion.

Capello's men will stamp their authority on the match early on, exposing our defenders' true colours. This will also allow them to double their advantage. Algeria should pull one back to reduce the deficit, but in their haste to get back on level terms, they will leave themselves exposed enough for England to put a bow on the whole affair.

Algeria-United States 2-0

Having lost against England, Algeria will be under obligation to resist the force of the US with the aim of graduating from Group C. Rabah Saadane's team will look to keep it simple and defensive against the Americans in the first period, the US being repelled systematically by the defensive curtain of our side.

I predict that we will hit the US where it hurts just before the break, allowing us to play an entirely different game after the restart. We will tie the game up with a brace, allowing us to play more ambitiously and, more importantly, with confidence.


Slovenia
With Tine Zupan

Slovenia-Algeria 1-0

Out of our three opponents, the Algerians are shrouded with the largest amount of mystery. However, we are aware that they are a technically gifted, flamboyant side and, as such, Slovenia should be able to come up with a swift game plan to counter the Algerian style of playing. We have a knack for dealing with these types of teams and, with the meticulous planning skills of our boss, Matjaz Kek, I believe we will come away with a hard-fought three points.

Slovenia-United States 2-1

Slovenians see this as a crucial tie in the fight for second place. I do rate the current US side, since I have been watching a lot of MLS in the last two years, and know there's a lot of talent there - it's not just about the Americans that play in Europe. I still think Slovenia should be mentally better prepared for this match and will pay more respect to the opponent rather than the other way around. The American defence will have a lot of work with Novakovic's quality (if he hits top form) and Dedic's relentless running - I think Kek's team might just sneak a win.
 
Slovenia-England 1-1

England could be through by the final match day, although it's far from certain. I'm not sure Fabio Capello will tinker with his side much, even if England are through, since the teams that did that in the Euro 2008 all fell apart in the quarters (Portugal, Holland, Croatia). I still think Slovenia will have the upper hand when it comes to motivation. A lot of our players will feel they have a point to prove against England after the defeat at Wembley in September. I'll go for a draw.

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