Bradley: Memory of 1950 to inspire USA
American coach Bob Bradley says memories of his country's famous 1-0 victory over England in 1950 will come flooding back after the two nations were paired in the opening match of Group C for next summer's World Cup finals.
The England-USA showdown in Rustenberg on Saturday June 12 is the fifth game of the tournament and Bradley says his team will be perfectly prepared for what most pundits will consider a battle for first place in the group.
"We hope it can happen again," said Bradley of that 1950 upset in Brazil . "It didn't come straight into my mind when the draw was being made but it's still talked about in the US. It's a great way to start and a big challenge and will bring interest in the States to an all-time high."
With David Beckham likely to be in England's squad and LA Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan captaining the USA, the match has already taken on extra spice. Conversely, the likes of Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey ply their trade in the Premier League and Bradley believes his players will be extra motivated to beat England.
"David Beckham has brought the spotlight on the game in the United States and has helped our game grow," Bradley said. "And the fact that a lot of my players play in England makes this a huge game in their minds," he said. "It couldn't be bigger. This game has so many story lines. Landon and David is only one of them."
One factor in America's favour is that they are already familiar with South African conditions in June and July having reached the final of the Confederations Cup a few months ago, beating European champions Spain on the way.
"In the Confederations Cup we started by losing to Italy and Brazil but we learned a lot about how to begin a tournament. We also learned about playing in South Africa in terms of weather and altitude which are two plusses. Our scheduling works well because all our group games are at altitude and within driving distance. Once you have the chance to acclimatize it's not a problem."