Here's a brief rundown of the ups and downs of England's performance in recent World Cups:
2002 -- Quarter Final -- Lost to Brazil (1:2)
1998 -- Last 16 -- Lost to Argentina (Penalty Shoot Out)
1994 -- Everything went pear shaped (didn't even qualify)
1990 -- Semi Final -- Lost to Germany (PSO)
1986 -- Quarter Final -- Lost to Argentina (Maradona's "hand of God" -- the big cheat)
And this is how America have fared:
2002 -- Quarter Final -- Lost to Germany
1998 -- Out at Group Stage
1994 -- Last 16 -- Lost to Brazil
1990 -- Out at Group Stage
Today also marks the start of the World Cup Wallchart. This chart will be updated throughout the World Cup, so that you can keep abreast of match results. You can download your own blank wallchart from the BBC (pdf).
Another thing that you might be interested in is the BBC's World Cup 2006 Blog. In addition, the BBC's World Cup website has an excellent Virtual Replay page where you can send/read texts; read match statistics for each match as it happens; look at the picture gallery of the current match; rate the players' performances; read a text-based commentary and watch animations of all shots on goal. After the match is over, you can watch detailed highlights. Great fun.
The final thing that you might be interested in knowing is that, throughout this World Cup, Baddiel and Skinner are releasing regular podcasts to help us all get into the World Cup mood.
Here are a few more World Cup links: