World Cup is here, yes!

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 11, 2010

Finally, the FIFA World Cup is here.

I don’t know about all of my readers, but I’ve been waiting for this moment since Italy beat France in the 2006 World Cup final in Germany.

The FIFA World Cup is held every for years, with 32 teams with their country’s best soccer players competing for the world title.

The World Cup this year is in South Africa, and even the mosquito-like noise makers have been all abuzz in pre-cup friendly matches.

Be warned, that’s what you’ll hear on the TV other than the huge crowds when it starts today at 10 a.m. CST on ESPN.

South Africa will play Mexico at 11, and Uruguay will play 2006 runner-up France at 2:30 p.m. ET in Group A.

Now, if you turn to two groups over in Group C, the first match between the United States vs. England should be a good one.

This match will be on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. CST, and ironically, it’s one of the most anticipated first-round matches of the World Cup this year.

It’s quite obvious because both teams have players that play professionally in Europe.

What England has offensively, the U.S. has defensively.

Both squads have strengths on both sides of the ball, but it will come down to the least important position — the goalkeeper, as was said by ESPN soccer analyst Alexi Lalas on SportsCenter recently.

All three goalkeepers for the U.S. — Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann and Tim Howard — all play for English Premiership teams, and know the terrain well when it comes to the space between the posts.

Howard is slated to be the goalkeeper for our country in Saturday’s start, and he said on that his team will “fight and claw” against the English.

“We are scrappy,” he said. “We are going to fight. And I’m sure if we kick them they won’t walk away with their tails between their legs. They’ll kick back. So it might be a scrappy game.”

A scrappy game I can’t wait to see.

For England, Robert Green, Joe Hart and David James all encompass the goalkeeping staff, and not until Thursday did England’s coach (Fabio Capello) decide who will be the starting 11.

I think England is favored to win the first match over the U.S., but the Americans — in my opinion — will give the English a run for their Pounds Sterling.

Remember, this is the same American squad that had an impressive showing at the 2009 Confederations and Gold Cups.

The U.S. finished in the semi-finals in the Confederations, and reached the finals in the Gold Cup against Mexico.

I am excited for both teams because they have some of my favorite players playing for them such as Landon Donovan, Wayne Rooney, Clint Dempsey, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch, to name a few.

So, the time has come for me to enjoy the World Cup after four long years of waiting.

As to who will win the most coveted title in a month?

I don’t know because that’s the best part about all of this.

This is the tournament where the world’s best in soccer come together, and fight and scrape their way to win the ultimate prize — to be the best of the best.