England v USA - Match Preview
Published : 12 Jun 2010 17:44:32
Frank Lampard has vowed to make his last World Cup one to remember for England and believes the vast experience in the squad could be a crucial factor in their bid for success.
The Chelsea midfielder, who will be 32 later this month, concedes this will almost certainly be his last appearance on football's biggest stage.
He is determined to make up for the disappointment of 2006 in Germany when, by his own admission, he failed to fire on all cylinders before England lost in the quarter-finals to Portugal.
But Lampard admits there is a confidence because of the knowledge in the squad acquired in past tournaments - via the likes of himself, Steven Gerrard and John Terry.
- Group C fixtures
- Group C table
- Group C focus
He said: "The confidence in ourselves is quite similar to four years ago when there was the same kind of build-up pre-Germany.
"A lot of us are maybe more confident in a way because of the experience of having been there.
"I certainly feel better for my years of experience in club football and at international level.
"But, by the same token, we know how difficult a difficult a competition this is.
"People can fancy our chances and we're very settled in our minds but we have to go out and perform."
Lampard admitted: "That last World Cup wasn't great for me personally, and wasn't fantastic for the team.
"We got knocked out in the quarter-finals yet again. You don't get that many World Cups in your career and this could possibly be my last, in fact probably my last.
"I want to look back and say I was part of a team that was successful and have been personally successful as well.
"If it is the last one I play, we'll put everything in there to make sure it's as good as it can be."
Lampard is aware of the importance of England making a winning start to their group when they take on the United States in Rustenburg on Saturday.
He said: "I think they'll be very organised. It will be a very big game for them. There'll be a certain rivalry considering the players they have who play in the Premier League.
"It'll be a tough game. The first one always is. Considering we're playing the strongest team in our group, other than us hopefully, then I think it'll make for a tight game.
"It's one you want to win to put yourself in a strong position.
"But I have seen many a game in tournaments before when that first game doesn't go as you expected and teams are a bit cagey.
"We can't think about it as the be all and end all and just have to prepare for the game."
United States star DaMarcus Beasley knows an expectant public back home thinks a repeat of 1950s World Cup heroics will be easy.
There may well be far more recognition of the game Americans call soccer than there was in 1990, when they began a run of six successive finals appearances.
But the most popular team sport on the planet still has to fight for recognition in the most lucrative commercial market.
The World Cup provides an invaluable shop window but in order to seize the opportunity to showcase their wares, America has to make an impact, something they totally failed to do in Germany four year ago.
Victory over England in Rustenburg would certainly make people sit up and take notice, and maybe create a longer lasting impression than was managed 60 years ago when Joe Gaetjens scored the only goal in one of the most sensational results in the tournament's entire history.
Beasley is aware life is not so simple. He is not sure the vast majority of American sports fans understand.
"People back home have read about 1950 and think we beat them then so we can beat them now," he said.
"But they are the people who don't know anything about football.
"England are one of the favourites to win the tournament. I am sure the people who know about these things would think it was a massive shock even if we got a draw."