The history of the USA rivalry with England isn’t pretty. While everyone brings up the shocker from 1950 (which has its own tragic denouement), the truth is that England has owned this rivalry, outscoring the Americans 29-4 at one stretch.
Still, it wouldn’t be sports if optimism wasn’t part of the package. The USA has now qualified for six straight World Cups. In that stage, it seems that every other Cup has a positive result:
1990: 1st round exit
1994: Lost to Brazil, 1-0, round of 16
1998: 1st round exit
2002: Lost to Germany, 1-0, quarterfinals
2006: 1st round ext
As has been pointed out, the first game of the Cup is crucial for American hopes. Do well, and the US tends to do well. Do poorly, and the US crashes out.
My guess? The US has played poorly in the run up to this game, but they really have