Slovenia V USA Preview – Friday, 18th June (Group C)

17th June 2010 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Previews & Predictions
World Cup Previews & Predictions

 

Slovenia V USA Preview

Kick-off: Friday, 18th June – 15:00 GMT
Stadium: Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg
Referee: Koman Coulibaly (Mali)
Group C

 

Slovenia

There’s a genuine prize up for grabs for Slovenia should they wish to reach out and grab it with both hands, as victory over the United States would guarantee Slovenia a place in the last-sixteen whilst leaving their match day opponents, Algeria and England to do battle for the one remaining berth. A win would also leave Slovenia one win away from a perfect record in Group C, with England to follow, but it would also open up an avenue for Slovenia to nick top spot thus avoiding the probability of facing the formidable Germans in the Round of 16.

The Slovenians made a wonderful start to their second World Cup and are already fairing a whole lot better than in their previous campaign, when finishing bottom of their group without a single point at Korea/Japan 2002. Their performance in Polokwane on Sunday wasn’t great, while some of their attacking play at times was dreadful but they got the result they initially set out for and are well on their way to completing a dream which, dare I say it, seemed far-fetched before the tournament began and that’s qualifying from Group C. Beforehand, it seemed USA were their main rivals for second spot, behind the likely group winners England, but now there’s a real possibility that Slovenia could yet top the group let alone qualify, possibly sending USA home all in one foul swoop.

It’s not everyday you have the opportunity to book your place in the last-sixteen of the greatest sporting spectacle in the world, especially not if you’re Slovenian, but that’s how influential, potentially destructive if you’re an American, Robert Korean’s fluke goal was. The West Brom midfield seen his speculative effort somehow bounce past the Algerian goalkeeper and into the net with less than ten minutes left to play. It’s that type of good fortune which often inspires a team, one of those moments you look back on and say ‘that was fate’. Slovenia could be uttering those exact sentiments although only if they complete the second half of their assignment by beating the USA on Friday. However, even with three points on the board, two more than the United States, Slovenia are the underdog in this contest and if you watched glimpses of Slovenia’s performance against Algeria you will understand why. While their defence managed to repel every meaningless attack that came their away, there was concern over their ability to carve out chances against an Algerian defence which clearly lacked organisational nous, as well as a respect leader.

Nevertheless, Slovenia do have the inventory to unlock a defence of USA’s calibre, with lung bursting runs down the flanks a definite way through, as the United States full-backs were run ragged by Aaron Lennon of England in particular last Saturday, helpless to his quick turns and and pacey runs in behind. The problem for Slovenia is they don’t have a player like Aaron Lennon in their squad, although Zlatko Dedic looked a tricky customer in his first outing and may quickly find he has the beating of his defender, while Roberto Koren and Valter Birsa are readily available to have a pop from distance, and with this controversial Jubulani balls, it’s certainly worth having a go.

Will Slovenia land the knock-out blow?

 

USA

USA vice-captain, Landon Donovan, claims Friday’s encounter with Slovenia is one of the biggest his country will ever play. It’s hard not to agree with those comments when the reality is a Slovenia victory would almost guarantee an early exit for our American counterparts. The United States, though, will fancy their chances after earning a 1-1 draw with Group C favourites England, whereas Slovenia needed a large slice of luck in order to see of an average Algeria, so on face value the Americans edge in front. All they need to do now is back it up with a winning display in Johannesburg.

The Americans don’t have the best of records when it comes to qualifying for the knock-outs, as in eight previous finals only on three occasions (1930, 1994 & 2002) have they made the cut. The signs aren’t promising this time around despite earning a hard-fought point against one of the competition favourites in their opening game of the finals, with Clint Dempsey’s strike handing the United States a share of the spoils against England last Saturday in a game where they certainly had chances to win it, with Jozy Altidore in particular missing a glorious opportunity. Nevertheless, a point was a decent outcome for coach Bob Bradley, whom will now try to go one further against the Slovenians.

Four years ago in Germany, USA crashed out of the competition without winning a single game and despite facing Algeria in their final Group C game, there is every chance they could emulate such a feat (Not winning a game) should they fail to beat Slovenia, as it would leave the Americans under all sorts of pressure heading into their final group match. A draw would leave USA having to beat Algeria and praying England do them a favour by beating Slovenia, whereas defeat on Friday would be curtains for the United States as they would need Slovenia to beat England in the final round of fixtures. There are so many permutations but none of which will count for anything if Bradley’s men do their part on Friday by beating Slovenia in a game they are fancied to win.

It took a collective team effort to restrain England in Rustenburg, valiantly defending for the most part as they claimed a point more than many anticipated. There will be nothing of the sort on Friday afternoon, with the United States on the prowl for the win that could save their bacon. That’s not to say it will be gun-hoe from the Americans, but they will commit more men forward to attack than they did against England, with Donovan looking to pull the strings once again. We may even see Bradley introduce some pace into the mix, with DeMarcus Beasley and Edson Buddle chomping at the bit to get on and make that difference.

 

World Cup Preview – Slovenia V USA Betting Tips

Match Odds:

Slovenia – 4.00 SkyBet
Draw – 3.40 totesport
USA – 2.15 WilliamHill

 

Our Prediction: Draw – 3.40 totesport

We have every faith in the USA defence after their ability to frustrate and restrict England to just the one goal, but we’ve yet to discover whether they have the craft and imagination to create enough chances at the other end. The Americans have always lacked quality up top, it’s the main reason why time and time again they focus in defending whenever they’ve been pitted against a quality opponent. In 2006, USA drew 1-1 with eventual champions Italy, although that was their only point of the tournament. They’ve already got their hands on another scalp, that of England with another 1-1 draw, but as we keep pointing out, when the USA have had to attack against the lesser teams, they’ve generally come unstuck and been found wanting.

Slovenia have faired so much better than their previous finals, when losing all three of their group matches at Korea/Japan 2002. They weren’t particularly impressive against Algeria but the win will have lifted the spirit in camp and will of had the players believing in their own ability, that they do have what it takes to win a game of this magnitude, a game with a huge prize at stake.

We reckon Slovenia’s confidence boosting win over Algeria will see them take something out of this match although we feel they may have to settle for the point and hope they hold England in their final game in order to be certain of progression.

Our Recommended Bet: 1-1 Correct Score – 6.50 SkyBet




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