Tuesday Kickoff: England cruises, Argentina rolls and more

BlancoGerrard (GettyImages) 

Good morning all. The U.S. men's national kicks off its World Cup preparations tonight when it takes on the Czech Republic (8pm, ESPN2) in a friendly that will decide the roster fate of several fringe players.

On Monday, it was the U.S. team's opening World Cup opponent in action as England's World Cup preparations kicked off with a 3-1 victory against Mexico at Wembley Stadium.

Goals from Ledley King, Peter Crouch and Glen Johnson made the difference against a game Mexican side that played the better soccer through most of the match. Mexico connected on twice as many passes as England, but squandered several quality scoring chances in defeat.

The English weren't the only world power to win in exhibition play on Monday. Argentina flexed its attacking muscle in a 5-0 thrashing of Canada in Buenos Aires. Maxi Rodriguez scored twice while Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero added goals in Argentina's final pre-World Cup tuneup match.

Here are the highlights (along with some other news items from Monday and today):

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Portugal humbled in scoreless draw vs. Cape Verde

If Cristiano Ronaldo is going to have that statue erected like in the new Nike commercial, both he and Portugal are going to have to step up their game.

Portugal failed to score a goal in a 0-0 draw vs. Cape Verde on Monday. The tiny nation is currently ranked 117th in the world.

Hurtado suffers torn ACL

Seattle's forgettable season got a bit worse on Monday amid word that standout defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado had suffered a torn ACL. The injury should keep Hurtado out for the rest of the season, though Sounders officials were still holding out hope that he might be able to return before the end of the season.

Algeria loses midfielder to injury

USA Group rival Algeria won't have the services of Mourad Meghni, who failed to overcome a knee injury in time to make the Algerian World Cup squad.

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What did you think of Monday's friendlies? Impressed with England, or did you come away believing the United States can beat the English? Think Seattle can overcome the loss of Hurtado?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, MLS- Seattle Sounders, World Cup 2010. Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: England cruises, Argentina rolls and more

  1. sread says:

    Not too impressed with England or Mexico. That said, I love how England say they were “experimenting”, playing down the win at home and how Mexico came out with their starting eleven. Good luck on Wednesday, Mexico. Hope this tour works out for you.

  2. Phlogiston says:

    England didn’t look sharp, but still managed to get a comfortable home win, so you have to give them credit.

    One thing that was notable was the blazing speed of Theo Walcott and later on, Aaron Lennon on the wing.

  3. AC says:

    England proved its not how much possession you have, but who puts the ball in the back of the net…Scoreline says enough….

  4. BurlingtonChelsea says:

    Loved how the commentators kept calling Blanco overweight and laughing at him during the broadcast….LMAO.

  5. Jonathan S. says:

    I found myself rooting for England yesterday, their the lesser of two evils to me. being a hispanic USMT fan who lives in south texas, I have seen the worst of the arrogant Mexico fans. But come June, Im certain my view point will change.

  6. William the Terror says:

    Cape Verde? How embarassing. The Portugese team must have been suffering from a letdown after having to quickly find Cape Verde for an opponent after Bhutan backed out of a scheduled friendly.

  7. Stephen says:

    Well, I think the Mex/Eng match gives me more hope of the US defeating England in a few weeks. If the US presses and then can finish they’ve got a good shot. Mexico just needs to finish, they looked dangerous with the ball and awful without it. Let’s hope the US can finish the good chances they get.

  8. RLW2020 says:

    if there was a real world cup official refing the game mexico would have been down to 9 men by the end and peter crouch would have been called offside every other time he saw the ball, including his single hand ball goal… and people think MLS is sloppy!

  9. Skinn says:

    I wouldn’t read too much into the Mexico-England match, esp. in terms of reading England’s game. Capello didn’t even dress any Chelsea players (three of whom are likely starters). That’s not to say they’re style will be much different, but the execution will be.

  10. RLW2020 says:

    after Brazil who do you pick to pull up second in that group?..

    Portugal (Cape Verde?) or Ivory Coast (Sven?)

  11. Come on you Yanks says:

    North Korea

  12. Guillermo Franco reminds me of Randy Travis.

  13. chris says:

    Argentina looked like they were having fun… but it was Canada afterall – they should win by 5 every time out against Canada.

  14. Steve C says:

    Well, they really only called him overweight once.. and it was Martin Tyler. He was commenting on how he’s 37 now, overweight, but he still brings his style to the team. It wasn’t entirely a knock on the man.

    The other time, Tyler commented on Glen Johnson’s speed tracking back for a ball, and the other commentator said something to the sort, “Well, to be fair… he was racing against Blanco.” to which they both chuckled. (I did too)

  15. Dan Fontaine says:

    I thought England looked pretty good yesterday, granted the suspect officiating. They’re an explosive team who can find the back of the net with relative ease. I look forward to getting at least a point from such a good side :]

    Mexico looked good too. If not for two badly taken shots and a first half, no-call penalty the El Tri may have won that game.

    Portugal… wowsers.

    Argentina… wowsers (for opposite reasons)

  16. William the Terror says:

    no way. their dictator, Little Kim, is going to pull the team from the Cup at the last minute so that they can all help him to sink a few more South Korean ships.

  17. Fidel says:

    I would have to agree. There were a few tackles in the second half alone that would have seen a few Mexicans sent off.

  18. Shark says:

    Not true at all…only once did they say it…and actually Martin Tyler was very complementry of Blanco and his skills at 37….I’m glad we could set straight your misrepersentation of what was ACTUALLY said….oh and they never laughed at him once…you tell good fiction stories though…:)

  19. Buster McGriff says:

    I kind of think England should’ve done their best to completely thrash Mexico to send a message, but they looked slow and out of sorts in the first half. Mexico actually outplayed them the majority of the game, and the game could’ve gone in a completely different direction if a penalty was called on King and Green didn’t make that great save. So, overall…I was happy with the game. Walcott and Lennon did look really speedy.

  20. Lost in Space says:

    Agreed. To me the take-aways from the match for the English team was the speed of the wingers and their execution around the net. Green looked OK in net, but tended to give up rebounds off shots from distance. For Mexico their Lack of Marking on set plays appeared to be thier biggest weekness. They’ll need to address that in a hurry.

  21. K Bone says:

    Let’s be honest, England didn’t play that great and were missing some of their best players, and they still beat Mexico 3-1. Do you really think the US would have beaten Mexico is they played below par and were missing Donovan, Dempsey and Bradley? No way in hell. I don’t understand why a lot of people on here are acting like we can take England after this game. To be fair, I think most of the fans on this site are just as delusional as the English are. Our best striker scored 1 goal in the EPL, theirs scored 26, and that’s just a small example of their talent compared to ours…

  22. Philips says:

    Hey Ives, can we get another exciting Canadian Corner soon? I can’t wait to read about the power that is the 6th best team in CONCACAF

  23. hernangeles says:

    I wasn’t too impressed with England. Terry, Rio and King have a hell of a time dealing with speed. Having Ashley Cole will provide some valuable cover for them. Rooney showed glimpses of his old self (earlier in the season) but I don’t think he’s totally fit. Give him a small knock on his bad ankle and it could be trouble for him.

  24. Chicago - Scott says:

    He straight up said he is over weight… I think that is disrespectful enough, regardless of how “complementary” he was of him being able to still play.

    Bogus… But funny.

  25. away goals says:

    Another significant note from england-mexico: despite the talk of experimentation, capello started the strongest squad available to him (chelsea players were not in consideration). He did not start an all-audition team.

    I’m really hoping bbradley does the same tonight.

  26. Chicago - Scott says:

    If you saw the game Portugal still dominated… It’s hard to get motivated playing a team like that and they let some of their goal opportunities slip away, something that will NOT happen in the World Cup.

  27. Chicago - Scott says:

    Pat Onstad is pretty good though… HA!

  28. Betinho says:

    Sorry Shark but the way i remember it was exactly as Steve C heard it. They defintiely laughed (as did I) when talking about Johnson’s speed vs Blanco. It was funny. Sometimes the truth is funny. It’s ok to laugh – especially at a 37 yr old overweight Blanco.

  29. Betinho says:

    If you haven’t seen the new Studio 90 over at the US Soccer site…check it out. Starts out a little slow but ends with a great LD @ Everton piece. Amazing how far that little production has grown since 06.

  30. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Capello said that Mexico’s speed gave them problems. Overall, I’d saw we’re faster than Mexico, so that’s interesting.

  31. madmax says:

    I’m sure Capello was disappointed with the performance, he said he was. Vela just seems too nervous in front of goal. I wouldn’t take too much from this game because there were so many missed chances that 5-5 would have been fair.

  32. Spectra says:

    You mean like giving up three goals to the United States in the first half. Yup that will never happen.

  33. The Scout says:

    What’s the scouting report on Mourhad Meghni? Would he have been a starter? Is he one of Algeria’s better players? Where does he play in the midfield?…

    Thanks for any info.

  34. DC Josh says:

    Inter Milan too. They averaged 47% possession throughout the Champions League and are the European champions. Enough said.

  35. away goals says:

    Speed isn’t just how fast you can run. Mexico’s pace combined with their skill means they can outmaneuver a solid defense through possession and good movement.

    The US version of speed is more of a lull the opponents forward, than look for chances on the break. Can definitely be effective, but not necessarily comparable to mexico.

  36. Andy in Atlanta says:

    To be fair…anyone that follows world football knows that Cape Verde are a much improving side with several players plying their trade in Portugal… It was also an intense rival match for them against their once colonial oppressors…Portugal looked great until the final 3rd the entire match.. they simply looked like the US does when trying to break down Guatemala’s bunker ball style..

  37. dbex says:

    The scouting report is….he doesn’t play anywhere right now, because he’s out of the WC with a knee injury. Too bad for him; hopefully good for the US: link to soccernet.espn.go.com

  38. dbex says:

    Oh, my bad — you’re asking where he WOULD have played. Center-mid, playmaking role, starter….I think.

  39. DC Josh says:

    Meghni is a huge loss to Algeria. Not that they had high hopes, but losing one of their best players is a massive loss. It was a wise choice by the FA however, to not play him since he’s not 100% fit.

    I thought Mexico looked very good on the ball. England did not do a good job of sitting back and absorbing the pressure; Mexico should have scored 3 goals in the first half. Did Robert Green win the starting goalkeeping spot? He made some clutch saves.

    I still fancy our chances against England. We match up well physically, and will hurt them on the counter. Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole won’t stay home forever. When they push up, we’ll have our chances against Rio and John Slowsky.

  40. Chicago - Scott says:

    8 years ago…

  41. JJJ says:

    3-1 is a very convincing win. A- England side against the A team of Mexico. Time for El Tri to worry.

  42. Andy says:

    Put Jozy on ManU and Rooney on Hull and that goal disparity would be rapidly closed. In fact, I’d wager Jozy would outscore Rooney in that situation.

    I’m not saying Jozy is as good as Rooney, but what team you play on has a lot to do with how many goals a striker can score (possession, service, etc.).

  43. KEvin_Amold says:

    NO! I follow world football and I honestly did not know that.

  44. sread says:

    I really hope not. I’m looking forward to a great match between the Portuguese speaking rivals…don’t dissapoint me!!

  45. Andy in Atlanta says:

    I do not know what match you guys watched… take away two set pieces and poor goalkeeping and England got waxed in all phases of the game… Mexico tripled them in shots dominated possession and in general controlled the match… only Johnson’s goal is worth a mention… you guys all seem to want to bow down to these guys…”oh they played bad and still won without some of their best players”… HOGWASH

    Cashley Cole…ha Donovan owns him…
    Lampard…cant hit the broad side of a barn door wearing an England shirt…

    If the US can mark Crouch and not get toasted on the flanks…England will have a very tough time with us.. and they know it too…

  46. K Bone says:

    Ha, seriously, how many people honestly follow Cape Verde? Your statement is pretty ridiculous. But of course, you clearly are a real fan of world football, unlike us lesser fans…

  47. K Bone says:

    Wow, you are so wrong. Seriously, reread that sentence where you said Jozy would score more goals if Rooney were on Hull. You realize that Jozy didn’t even start half the games. You honestly think Rooney would not be starting every game and playing every second? Thank you for proving my delusional point. Just, wow…

  48. BrianVT says:

    “In fact, I’d wager Jozy would outscore Rooney in that situation.”

    That’s an unrealistic stretch. But your point is well-made.

  49. Hood Rich says:

    That goal from Glen Johnson was epic. It helped too that 5 Mexican players did nothing but ball watch. :-) Even King’s header was uncontested by defender #5.

    Mexico’s tactics are not going to work against efficient European teams like England and Germany. Mexico need to be more ruthless in front of the goal than squander chances like they had. Seems they always try for the perfect 3rd or 4th pass before someone takes at shot at goal.

    Never seen Giovanni dos Santos play with that intensity while he was with Spurs. Had he shown that sort of grit and determination, he wouldn’t have been
    loaned out to Ipswich and Galatasary.

  50. frank says:

    England beat Mexico the same way we beat Mexico…set pieces, counters and a bend but dont break defensive approach…

    Mexico has always been weak on set pieces, especially to teams with big defenders/strikers whom they can serve the ball to on corners and free kicks (how many goals have you seen Bocanegra score against them?)

    Given this weakness-Im always surprised that Mexico didn’t make a run at Omar Gonzalez of LA Galaxy-he’s 6’5″ and had the potential to fill a big need for them

  51. playmaker says:

    CAPE VERDE??? You must be out of your mind. You might as well say Gaudaloupe is an improving football nation then.

  52. afd says:

    I can see you know a lot about football; specially when you criticize Guatemala style of play against the US. Ironic isn’t?

  53. 87_no_spice says:

    This is correct, this “one-goal” bashing of Jozy has to stop.

    When you consider the way Jozy manufactured goals for a team that only outscored Rooney by 8 goals on the season, it paints a much diff’t picture.

    Jozy scored or assisted on 8 of Hull City’s 34 goals (23.5%). Rooney scored or assisted 31 of Utd’s 86 goals (36%). When you consider that teams can’t just play Rooney since Utd has other options, but defenses can concentrate all their efforts on Jozy (lest they feel the wrath of Craig Fagan???), even this difference makes sense. Then, considering that Rooney started twice as many games as Altidore, it’s not unrealistic to say that Jozy is the more productive player. Numbers don’t lie.

  54. afd says:

    Gonzales is good for a defensive type of team. If he was playing for Mexico he would be like Torres in the US, a good prospect but not really a place for him.

  55. Frank says:

    If you saw the game then you saw the good performance by the 6’6″ Maza Rodriguez of PSV. He is better than Omar now. People here lose the fact that this game was played at Wembley and Mexico had their third string goalie. I was not impressed at all with England. Mexico also experimented with Marquez in the midfield that I think backfired. Considering that South Africa at home will be easier than England at home and the way Mexico played I think they will be fine in SA.

  56. K Bone says:

    Sigh. Rooney carried Manchester United to within 1 point of the championship on a team that quite frankly should have struggled more. He was EPL player of the season, and in many, many cases was solely responsible for providing the goals. You really think every single team wasn’t focused on him entirely? You honestly think Jozy would have scored even half that many goals or was capable of carrying United if he was on that team? Sure United have much better players than Hull, but Rooney was without a doubt the center of everything. Jozy wasn’t even good enough in the eyes of the managers to start every game. Obviously their coaches sucked, but really, if he was good enough, he’d be starting every game. I’m sorry, but you can’t pretend that one goal scored is good enough for a player of his potential. The reason he was on Hull is because he’s not good enough to play on a better team. He had 7 assists apparently? So what, Berbatov lead the lead in assists 2009 and everyone said he sucked. I really don’t see how you can justify Jozy’s performance in the EPL compared to Rooney. Jozy isn’t even good enough to play with United, so the whole hypothetical BS doesn’t even matter. Good lord people, let it go, he’s not even close to a world class striker, and Rooney defines it…

  57. K Bone says:

    And I’d like to add that this is on par with those guys who said Everton could win the EPL if Donovan played for them full time…

  58. Andy in Atlanta says:

    WOW…what a bunch of punks… I said “world’ football…there are in fact teams outside of our regions and with the internet you can follow just about anyone… Cape Verde was not extremely far of qualifying for the World Cup in 2006… They have had some very nice results recently and are actually unbeaten since March 2009 including a win and a draw against Angola and a 2-0 away win @ Malta who gave gave Sweden fits just 5 months earlier on the same pitch and escaped with only a 1-0 result(2006 WC participant)…

    Also in no way was a slamming the way the Chapinas play…sometimes you have to play a certain way to try and get a result…if that means pack it in, you pack it in… worked for Cape Verde yesterday as it is their best result in history and a big deal for all their country’s fans since Portugal ran slave trade from there since the 1600s…

    The fact is world football is ever shrinking and putting your nose up at opponents that you might know much about is pretty arrogant…

  59. Dave says:

    No mention of this here, but Canada was missing its entire starting midfield to injury, as well as other key starters. Would Canada have won with those players? No, but at least it would have been a better game. Really it’s too bad because it’s not too often Canada gets a chance to play a team like Argentina.

  60. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Actually…Gaudaloupe is not a “nation” at all but an overseas department of France… sorry.. but yes they do play football in some competitions un sanctioned by FIFA…

  61. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Maza was very good yesterday and was mentioned several times with glowing praise in the British media… I think he has a bright future beyond PSV

  62. Andy in Atlanta says:

    I thought 6’6 sounded fishy…most have him at 6’3… still played well and I did not know he was that old…28 already…

    He was very good though.

  63. Erik says:

    And Walcott’s horrible final decision making pass… He’s a fast winger but can’t cross the ball or do anything with it once he’s make the run.

    Also, I now see why Carlos Vela doesn’t play at Arsenal… he can’t finish easy opportunities.

  64. JJJ says:

    Mexico is only half as good as they wish to believe. I hope England plays the same game against the USA and we kick their azz. The goals are what matters and England clearly won. 3-1 is pretty much a whoopin, weather it is pretty or not.

  65. Jigga says:

    This is well put. Some of our players are faster, but Mexico probably /plays/ faster.

  66. Ron says:

    maza rodriguez did play well. That slide tackle against rooney was quite the surprise. I was confused as to why mexico, generally, had 3 people defending(maza, osorio, torrado/marquez) against a squad who have more talent than they do.

  67. jh says:

    Dumb comment. Everyone move along.

  68. afd says:

    2 goal diff is not really a whooping, it is more a comfortable win.

  69. Kevin Smith says:

    Oh, I guess the US team missing 6 starters would crush Argentina, right?

  70. adam says:

    You’re expecting every soccer fan to be rational about a result and the play that led to it? Being the most popular sport on the planet lends itself to having the widest collection of fans from every background and upbringing… for better or worse. It’s a lovely game, isn’t it?

  71. Marco says:

    Mexico are a far superior technical side to England, but the teams potential will not be maximized until the lapses in concentration are taken care of. Having said that, we will see what happens with Moreno and Magallon in central defense tomorrow against The Netherlands. Also Marquez played mid field yesterday which I’m sure will not be his position in South Africa.

    I think Mexico have a hugely talented squad that by curving errors will have a good advantage as most South American teams from the weather and altitude.

    One thing no one mentions is that as a tactician Aguirre completely outdid Capello yesterday. Giovani was never never in a static position, Marquez played midfield, Salcido was basically a winger, confounding the English players as to whom they should mark.

    The 3-1 score is very deceiving, but when a team wins no one will question the performance.

    What I do see is an incredibly cocky attitude this time around from the USMNT fans. Let’s hope it pans out for you!

  72. bizzy says:

    Wow…England beats Mexico “only” 3-1 and now all of a sudden we have a chance to beat England? England??? I cant believe what I’m reading…..mexico that whooped our behinds in Giants Stadium 5-0 and then after we thought we were just playing with scrubs and called out our “A” team, beat us in Mexico City 2-1. Yet when England beat them (even with bad defending) and score 3 goals we start dwelling on the fact that the US all of a sudden will beat “that” team!!!! England beats a team with a better winning record against us and that gives us what?…..

    Even more crazy than that is that some people put Rooney and Altidore in the same conversation, and trying to ACTUALLY compare the two!!!!! Wow…comparing arguably one of the best players in the world to someone not even the best player on our team!!!!! How much more delusional can you get?!!

    Our only real weapon is that we are underdogs with nothing to lose so all the pressure is on England. If we approach at match (in our minds!!!) like the playing field is level, stand the “F” by. With that kind of mentality we are in for a very rude awakening in Royal Bafokeng Stadium, on June 12.

  73. Brad says:

    That’s cute how Blanco and Stevie G are running hand in hand to the ball together.

  74. Marco says:

    @bizzy-

    I tip my hat to you! Both the U.S. and Mexico need more fans that “get real”, it’s the only way to go…and to grow!

  75. BFBS says:

    I don’t know why everyone is ganging up on you. Portugal barely beat Angola (another former colonial possession without much of a soccer history) in 2006, and that didn’t stop them from reaching the semifinals. The fact is, Portugal is pretty darn good but a small inspired team with some talent could pull a result out at any time. Anyway, here are some people that are or at one time were eligible to suit up for Cape Verde: Nani, Gelson Fernandes, Patrick Vieira, Henrik Larsson, half of Southeast Massachusetts, my friend the Gay Cape Verdean.

  76. davidaubudavid says:

    to compare john terry, frank lampard and ashley cole to donovan dempsey and bradley is silly at best. By even comparing the two groups, you are admitting that terry, lampard, and cole are by far and away England’s best players, when in fact they aren’t and only one of them is the best player at their given position: Cole. Ferdinand is a much better player than Terry, Carrick than Lampard (and though gerrard isn’t better he is similar enough that it doesn’t matter which one plays). Who is better than donovan or dempsey on the wings (or even on the field) for us? Who is a better central midfielder than Michael bradley?

    Add to this that Mexico will never play any other team with the intensity that they do us, and that the u.s. has yet to have a pure home advantage (like what i saw at Wembley) and it is plain to see your entire argument is just a bunch of sh*t.

  77. DaveW says:

    I was under the impression that assistant coach Carillo was the tactician and Aguirre the motivator.

    I had seen Mexico move the attacking players around a lot, but they moved the defenders and central midfielders too.

    Also, you’re right that this probably won’t be Mexico’s exact lineup for South Africa.

    Of course, if their opponents don’t throw crosses into the box constantly, their coaches should be fired.

  78. texescape says:

    I’m a Hispanic USMT fan living in South Texas too and agree completely about the Mexico fans.