What: FIFA 2010 World Cup
Who: USA vs Slovenia (Group C)
When: Friday 18th June, 2010, at 15:00 UK Time
Where: Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa

So Far So Good For the Stars and Stripes

Coming into the World Cup Bob Bradley’s objective would have been to avoid defeat in the opening game against England and then look for two wins over Slovenia and Algeria to secure qualification to the knockout phase. The first step has been completed, next up for the Stars and Stripes is Slovenia. Landon Donovan is on record as saying their encounter with the Green Dragons is a ‘cup final’ and with Slovenia currently topping Group C with their win over Algeria the dynamic of this fixture has altered. They are now up against opponents who can effectively secure their passage to the second round with another win.

Dream Start for the Green Dragons

Although the nature of their victory against Algeria was fortuitous, Slovenia showed enough in the 90 minutes to demonstrate why they had qualified for the World Cup finals. The tiny nation were tidy in possession and organised in defence and they will be difficult opponents for any team in the tournament. The United States will offer a much sterner test than Algeria, but if Slovenia can put in a similar level of performance there is no reason why they can’t earn themselves a result against the Stars and Stripes.

Recent form

USA 2-1 Turkey (29/05; Friendly)
USA 3-1 Australia (05/06; Friendly)
England 1-1 USA (12/06; World Cup – Group C)

Slovenia 4-1 Qatar (03/03; Friendly)
Slovenia 3-1 New Zealand (04/06; Friendly)
Slovenia 1-0 Algeria (13/06; World Cup – Group C)

Players to watch

USA – Jozy Altidore: The pacey striker asked questions of England’s defence in their opener, including one occasion where he had Jamie Carragher beaten for pace and his eventual effort was tipped on to the bar by keeper Robert Green. Altidore looked a different player from the one that had spent the past season on loan at English Premier League side Hull City. This tournament could prove to be the coming of age for the young American.

Slovenia – Bojan Jokic: Slovenia’s left back will be tasked with marking Landon Donovan, arguably the United States’ main attacking threat. The LA Galaxy player had a good start to the tournament against England and the Chievo Verona defender will need to ensure that Donovan has minimal influence on the game.

Match prediction

Following Slovenia’s victory against Algeria this is a fascinating fixture. The Green Dragons will be full of confidence, knowing that another victory will all but secure their place in the last 16. On the other hand the United States will be delighted with their point against England and will be seeking victory in their final two group matches. Slovenia will be happy to sit back so the onus with be on the United States to force the issue. This will be a tight match which will end in a draw.

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