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World Cup Preview: Group C

The World Cup begins in exactly eight days, and we are officially excited. Starting June 11, there's nonstop historic action, all day: From 7:30 a.m. on, you have every excuse to pretty much take the whole summer off. We continue our World Cup coverage today with our preview of Group C. (See our Group D, Group E, Group F, Group G, and Group H previews.) So, here's all you need to know about Group C, which features Algeria, England, Slovenia, and the United States.

GROUP C

FIFA Rankings
No. 8: England
No. 14: United States
No. 25: Slovenia
No. 30: Algeria

Best World Cup Finish
Algeria: 2–0–1 (1982)
England: Winners (1966)
Slovenia: Fourth place (1950, 1962, as Yugoslavia)
United States: Quarterfinals (2002)

Best Player
Algeria: Madjid Bougherra, defender.
England: Wayne Rooney, striker.
Slovenia: Robert Koren, midfielder.
United States: Tim Howard, goalkeeper. (Sorry, Landycakes.)

Coach (and Sideline Garb)
Algeria: Rabah Saadane. This is his fifth different tour of duty with Algeria, and though he's beloved in his country, he has had little success outside its borders. (Athletic gear.)
England: Fabio Capello. A fierce disciplinarian, he's credited with turning England from a disastrous failure to qualify for Euro 2008 into a legitimate contender at this year's Cup. (Suit and tie.)
Slovenia: Matjaz Kek. A former radio D.J., he's universally beloved in Slovenia. (Athletic gear.)
United States: Bob Bradley. Little international experience for the Montclair, New Jersey, native — most of his career has been in college and the MLS — but that hasn't been a problem so far. Plus, his son's on the team. (Athletic gear.)

Broadcaster-Worthy Anecdote
Algeria: Typically one of Africa's strongest teams, they're playing in the first World Cup since 1986. The fans call this the team's "Walk in the Desert."
England: As usual, all of England's fans demand nothing less than a title and expect nothing less than total failure.
Slovenia: The nation has fewer people than Brooklyn, but the team is tough: Someone's going to get hurt playing these guys.
United States: In the wake of the upset victory over Spain last year, expectations are higher than ever for the Yanks. But this is not a team with much experience as the favorite, and the team still hasn't quite figured out how to fill the hole left by Charlie Davies's car accident.

Schedule
June 12, 2:30 p.m.: United States vs. England
June 13, 7:30 a.m.: Slovenia vs. Algeria
June 18, 10 a.m.: United States vs. Slovenia
June 19, 2:30 p.m.: England vs. Algeria
June 23, 10 a.m.: England vs. Slovenia
June 23, 10 a.m.: United States vs. Algeria

Prediction
1. England
2. United States
3. Algeria
4. Slovenia

Previously:

World Cup Preview: Group D
World Cup Preview: Group E
World Cup Preview: Group F
World Cup Preview: Group G
World Cup Preview: Group H

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Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images, Clive Rose/Getty Images, Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images, Clive Mason/Getty Images