PARIS -- Carlos Bocanegra is expecting his team to play without fear at the World Cup because coach Bob Bradley has players brimming with confidence.
The U.S. captain says the team's performance at last year's Confederations Cup is proof Bradley's attacking soccer is paying off. And he is certain the Americans can reach the latter stages and cause an upset against any of the top teams in South Africa.
"When it hits the knockout stages it's a one-off game, and who knows what can happen? We always take the example we beat Spain in the Confederations Cup," Bocanegra said during an interview with The Associated Press. "Before that we beat Egypt 3-0, the champions of Africa. So on our day we feel like we can beat anybody."
Bocanegra was part of the American team that was eliminated in the first round four years ago, losing 3-0 to the Czech Republic, holding eventual champion Italy to a 1-1 tie and then losing to Ghana 2-1.
This time the United States opens against England on June 12, plays Slovenia six days later and closes the first round against Algeria on June 23.
"It's a great chance for us, and we thought we got a fair draw and we have a good chance," said Bocanegra, a defender for French club Rennes. "We feel like we have a good team and we have gained a lot of confidence and experience over the past four years."
Having played more than 100 Premier League games for Fulham, the 30-year-old defender knows just how passionate English fans are, and he is relishing the first competitive match for the U.S. against England since the Americans' famous upset win at the 1950 World Cup.
"That is a cool way to kick off the tournament. It's a big game. They are a country rich in football history," Bocanegra said, predicting the game "will be quite highly viewed in the United States."
Although Bocanegra is fully settled in France, where he has one year left on his Rennes contract, he is aware that good performances at the World Cup could earn him a move back to England.
"If you play really well you have a chance to move," he said. "If something arises there I would never say, 'No.' But I am quite happy in France, actually. I enjoy the style here. I enjoy the life off the field. But obviously the Premiership is the cream of the crop, right?"