I literally just spent an hour searching The Shin Guardian for my USA group predictions from January. Couldn’t find them.
With the States, and Slovenia, expected to go for the win tomorrow morning. We asked this final question of our Jumble participants….and then got a bonus answer at end from a Slovenian friend of ours.
United States 2, Slovenia 0. I didn’t see anything from Slovenia against Algeria that suggested they’ll be a great threat in the run-of-play, and I imagine tactically they’ll play for a draw. With our counterattack suffocated tactically, we’ll need better link-up play, or a piece of set piece magic, but I love the leadership on this team and think Donovan is determined to not allow his teammates to fail. I think we’ll score early from a set-piece, opening the game up, creating the second late.
USA vs Slovenia. 2-0 win to the USA. After watching the Slovenia-Algeria match, I came away unimpressed with either team. They lack speed and creativity moving forward and their defending was questionable at best.
My initial prediction was 1-0, Slovenia. My current prediction is 1-0, United States. Against Algeria, a saw a Slovenia team that was not reacting as confidently and decisively in defense as they did in qualifiers. This resulting in slow reactions on the part of defenders and midfielders in closing space, challenging attackers. Playing without the ball as much as they do and given the quick, direct nature of many of the U.S.’s movements, I no longer like the Slovenes to withstand every attack.
Additionally, I didn’t see Novakovic supported as well as they used to. They just seem to have lost their mojo.
I think the US grinds out a 1-0 win. I trust in Bradley and I think we finally break out Eastern Bloc/Balkan World Cup losing streak. I think we’re more talented than the Slovenes and I think, in this case, that will just be enough to see us through.
The reason I was looking for my predictions is that they went like this: 1-1 draw against England, 1-0 win against Slovenia, 3-1 (or 4-2, I wrote) win against Algeria.
I’m going to change that Slovenia pick. I just don’t think the States can keep a clean sheet against quality competition. There last legitimate clean sheet was against a decimated Trinidad & Tobago team, 1-0, in September. Before that? Not sure.
I think the U.S. eeks out a 2-1 win here. If Slovenia scores first? All bets are off.
And now, our good friend Hampy weighed in from South Africa to use earlier today. The kicker, he’s Slovenian. Here were his bravado-ish comments–though I think they are fare:
About the match, overall feeling in Slovenia is that our team showed really great passion and team spirit in qualifiers.
Mind you Slovenia has population of only 2 million and that our country is only 19 years old! So it was already an achievement for our people that team qualified (for 2nd time!), and we are very, very proud of the lads, since there were quite a few good teams beaten by ours lately (Chech, Slovakia, N. Ireland, and not to mention great Russia with almighty Gus Hiddink (and they even booked the hotel in South Africa before qualifiers! ).
But we also feel that our group is not so hard and that this is our chance to progress to next stage.
So overall, we feel that our team on their day can match anyone. We held England with no big problems at Wembley, and with better reffereeing, the 3 Lions could fall.
About USA, we all know your team has grown immensily lately and that Bon Bradley is doing a marvelous job…and Team USA is better by names, money and they play in better clubs. But if your lads will underestimate ours,… then just look at Spain & Switzerland.
Emails like this are why I love the World Cup.
Going to be a good one tomorrow. Here’s to Slovenia looking up at the lights.