Capello had vowed to wait until two hours before kick-off to tell his players which lucky 11 would begin the first match in Group C and Green got the call after holding off the challenge of Joe Hart and David James.
CLICK HERE FOR LIVE ENGLAND VS USA COMMENTARY All smiles: Robert Green will start in goal for England against the United States in Rustenburg
It was the sensible choice given Hart is so inexperienced and James has apparently been struggling with a knee injury.
Having played in eight of England's last 11 matches, Green is used tooperating behind John Terry, Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole, who formed three-quarters of the defence, along with Ledley King.
Fever pitch: Capello's men are looking to get off to a perfect start at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium
With James Milner's fitness confirmed after a minor virus earlier in the week, the Aston Villa midfielder was handed his first competitive start for England and was expected to take up a position wide on the left in an effort to subdue the threat of Landon Donovan.
Ready to go: Aston Villa pair James Milner and Emile Heskey also start in England's opening World Cup clash
It meant Joe Cole missed out as Aaron Lennon was chosen to fill the wide berth on the right flank with Emile Heskey partnering Wayne Rooney as expected.
Fan zone: England and USA fans prepare for 90 minutes of drama ahead of them
Having declared he "exists to win", Capello had increased the pressure on both himself and his team and England started heavy favourites to beat the USA, who famously won the only other World Cup meeting between the two sides, in BeloHorizonte in 1950.
TEAMSENGLAND: Green, Johnson, Terry, King, Ashley Cole, Lennon, Lampard, Gerrard, Milner, Heskey, Rooney. Subs: James, Barry, Carragher, Carrick, Joe Cole, Crouch, Dawson, Defoe, Upson, Warnock, Wright-Phillips, Hart.
USA: Howard, Cherundolo, DeMerit, Onyewu, Bocanegra, Dempsey, Bradley, Clark, Donovan, Findley, Altidore. Subs: Guzan, Beasley, Bornstein, Buddle, Edu, Feilhaber, Gomez, Goodson, Holden, Spector, Torres, Hahnemann.
Referee: Carlos Eugenio Simon (Brazil)
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