Charlton points to USA as possible England hurdle

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Jack Charlton is confident England will ease their way into the last 16 if they get their World Cup finals campaign off to a winning start against the United States.

The former Leeds man has warned Fabio Capello's men not to take the USA too lightly when the sides meet in their Group C opener in Rustenburg on June 12.

Charlton said: "At the moment, we have got top players there and it is up to the manager to decide who he plays, how he plays them and what type of game he wants to play.

"I am sure he is a very knowledgeable man and we have got a good start knowing we have got good players. I think the first game against America will be very difficult. If we win that, then we will win the group."

Charlton knows exactly what it takes to succeed on the big stage having enjoyed World Cup glory as a player in 1996 and led the Republic of Ireland to the finals as a manager.

But where his Ireland team fried in the heat of the American sun in 1994, he is hoping the elements could provide England with a further boost this time around.

He said: "We are going there in the winter where we might get rain and it might get a bit chilly, which might suit the England lads.

"Ninety per cent of the times you play at European Championships and World Cups, you are playing in very, very warm, very hot temperatures, and that is very hard for the players.

"But this time it looks as if we might have an opportunity to play in conditions which might suit us."

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