Team USA took to the training field today as it began preparations for next month's World Cup. The players looked relaxed, confident, and loose but with a sense of excitement.

Captain Carlos Bocanegra expressed no fear or reservations about Team USA's first World Cup match against England, one of the favorites to win the tournament.

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"We knew were going to get matched up against a powerhouse in the opening round," he said. We welcome the challenge, this is what the World Cup is about, to prove yourself against the world's best."

The Americans' newly acquired confidence could be traced back to their success in the 2009 Confederations Cup, a warm-up to the World Cup. Their 2-0 defeat of Spain in the semifinals, and an excellent showing in the final, where they barely lost 2-3 to Brazil, might hold the formula for more success in the future.

"I don't think any team is shaking in their boots when USA takes the field," said goalkeeper Tim Howard. "But that's fine. We will play to our strengths, and we know our weaknesses. That's all that really matters."

The team faces Czech Republic and Turkey in a pair of pre-World Cup friendlies May 25 in East Hartford and May 29 in Philadelphia.

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Photo credit: Getty Images