Thursday, June 17, 2010

Do you know your enemy?

Slovenia vs USA

First thing's first.  Who IS Slovenia?

According to one writer, it looks like the US is facing their doppelganger

One of their more dangerous players, striker Milevoje Novakovic, plays for FC Köln.  He was the captain of the team until he had some sort of spat with the new trainer last season.
According to the experts, Slovenia is a more defensive-oriented team, preferring to sit back and wait for a chance to counter attack.  However, after their 1-0 victory in the opening game against Algeria, I wouldn't be surprised to see them push harder offensively for another three points, essentially guaranteeing a spot in the next round.  I don't think they'll have much of a chance for success next week against England.  Keep in mind that Slovenia hasn't lost a game since November 2009.

This game could make or break the World Cup for both sides.  On paper, this seems like something the US should be able to handle.  But the US seems to have a bad track record when they come off big games like last Saturday's draw.  Hopefully they can shake that off tomorrow. 

A bit of history here.  Eight years ago, the US shocked everyone by beating Portugal 3-2.  They followed that up with a 1-1 draw versus South Korea.  South Korea, by the way, ended up finishing fourth in the group.  Flash forward four years later.  The US ties eventual World Cup champions Italy 1-1.  The only team to not lose to Italy in the entire tournament.  That was followed up by a 2-1 loss to Ghana. 

For those of you really into the technical aspects, here's one last one to check out.

Prediction time: Slovenia's winning streak comes to an end, overwhelmed by the speed of the US attack down the sides.  If Tim Howard really is ok, he'll make the crucial stops and the US comes away with a not-so-easy 2-0 victory.

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