England face USA, Algeria and Slovenia in World Cup group

ENGLAND will face the USA, Algeria and Slovenia in the group stages of next year's World Cup in South Africa.

ENGLAND will face the USA, Algeria and Slovenia in the group stages of next year's World Cup in South Africa.

Fabio Capello's team, ranked ninth in the world, will play in Group C and cannot face world powers including Argentina and Germany until late in the competition.

However, they look likely to face a tricky-tie with Thierry Henry-led France in the quarter-finals.

England will play their first match against the USA at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Saturday, June 12.

It will be a handy opening for the team as that is where they intend to base themselves for the five-week tournament.

Their other matches will be played in Cape Town on Friday, June 18 before completing their Group C campaign in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday, June 23.

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The USA, ranked 14th in the world, boast Landon Donovan as their star player as well as Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey and Everton stopper Tim Howard.

They have featured in five straight World Cups and made the final of last year's Confederation Cup, beating European champions Spain before losing to Brazil.

Algeria, ranked 28th in the world, will appear in the competition for only the second time - and the first since 1986.

Their players include Portsmouth defender Nadir Belhadj and Lazio midfielder Mourad Meghni.

Slovenia, ranked 33rd in the world, made the finals by upsetting heavily-fancied Russia in the playoffs. They and Algeria will both be seen as long shots to qualify for the knockout stages.

Former England captain David Beckham, who took part in the draw in Capetown, said: “It is a very interesting group. They are all hard games and it's very exciting to be a part of it.”

And ex-England striker Alan Shearer believes the team should be delighted with the draw.

Shearer told the BBC: “We said beforehand I don't think we will be too worried about the USA. I think Mr Capello will be sat there in his seat in South Africa and inside will be absolutely delighted.

“I don't think anyone can say anything else with that group. USA, Algeria, Solvenia - if you had said that to Fabio this morning I think he would have snapped your hand off and took that, without a doubt.”

The full group line-up is:-

GROUP A

South Africa (hosts)

Mexico

Uruguay

France

GROUP B

Argentina

South Korea

Nigeria

Greece

GROUP C

England

USA

Algeria

Slovenia

GROUP D

Germany

Australia

Ghana

Serbia

GROUP E

Holland

Japan

Cameroon

Denmark

GROUP F

Italy (holders)

New Zealand

Paraguay

Slovakia

GROUP G

Brazil

North Korea

Ivory Coast

Portugal

GROUP H

Spain

Honduras

Chile

Switzerland

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