US Gets England in First Round
Brazil, meanwhile, lands with Portugal in Group of Death
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2009 6:38 PM CST
England soccer player David Beckham, left, hands a ball to actress Charlize Theron during the 2010 World Cup draw ceremony in Cape Town, South Africa, today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The US team was among the squads getting a favorable draw for next year’s soccer World Cup in South Africa, landing in a four-team group where it and England are the top sides. The top two teams advance from each of eight groups; while the Americans will be expected to advance, five-time champ Brazil isn’t as fortunate, finding itself in the so-called “Group of Death” with powerful Ivory Coast and Portugal.

Play begins June 11; the US and England meet the next day in Rustenberg. “When it comes to the World Cup and you have a chance to kick it off against a team like England,” American coach Bob Bradley tells AP, “it gives it a real special start.” Meanwhile, Spain, the world’s top-ranked team, found a soft group, as did defending champion Italy and France, in the tournament on the strength of a controversial handball-assisted goal against Ireland.