Posted by Paul Grant
More cool stuff from our research departments, and the world:
• The U.S. skinny (ESPN Stats & Information): The United States has participated in seven World Cups with a group stage. Of the three times the team has advanced, the team opened with a win twice (1930 and 2002) and a tie once (1994). The United States was eliminated in the group stage all four times after losing its opener.
• U.S. fans to outnumber England's today (Reuters): England fans will be outnumbered by U.S. supporters at the opener today, officials said. U.S. national team spokesman Michael Kammarman said tournament organizers have told the federation that 8,000 fans from the U.S. were expected at Royal Bafokeng stadium, while just 6,000 tickets had been sold to fans from England. "According to organizers, there will be more U.S fans at the game than English fans," Kammarman said. A FIFA venue spokeswoman in Rustenburg confirmed that the figures were roughly accurate, and said the fans would be separated at the venue.
•Capello hints at possible Barry start (BBC): Fabio Capello has hinted that Gareth Barry could be fit to play some part against the U.S. The Manchester City midfielder suffered an ankle injury May 5 and was thought to be definitely ruled out of the match in Rustenburg. But Capello said: "He has been training normally for three days and is fit. He will be on the bench, but a start? I'm not sure. I think no. I will name my team two hours before kickoff."
"I exist to win," Capello says (Guardian): Fabio Capello underlined the single-mindedness that will drive his team's challenge by choosing the eve of his side's game against the USA to remind his players that only victory will be acceptable. (Capello will finalize his selection for the opener after checking on James Milner's recovery from a stomach bug, with Michael Carrick on stand-by to step in.) Capello conceded that the U.S. represents dangerous opposition but has drummed into his squad that only a win will be satisfactory.
"I'm focused always on winning, always," he said. "In my career as a manager I have built teams, worked with players, and always I've been focused on winning. That's all that matters to me: I exist to win." Asked whether claiming the trophy would constitute his biggest achievement in management, he said: "Yes, of course. It's a dream, no? But it was a dream to become England manager. I hope the next dream comes off, too."