ZLBT Chats

Friday, June 18, 2010

SLOVENIA vs USA >>> Match Preview

Having won their first game at a World Cup thanks to an error from Algerian goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi, Slovenian confidence will be at an all-time high and, with England to come as their final group game, will be going all out to win and seal their progress to the second round.

A nation of around two million people, Slovenia impressed in getting to the tournament by knocking out Russia in the play-offs and have won over many neutral fans with their exploits in South Africa. Not the most attacking side, results are the order of the day and a well organised defence, combined with some invention up front, means that they have the chance to seal one of the most historic World Cup moments if they can beat USA.

For their part, USA were lucky to get a point from England thanks to Robert Green's error, but they will have gained confidence from the way in which they were able to halt the English attacks. With pace and skill to burn down the flanks, a tough central area that includes the hard tackling Michael Bradley and a defence full of experience and grit from the likes of Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu, coach Bob Bradley will be confident of progression against a side that many view as minnows.

Slovenia player to watch: Milivoje Novakovic
A consistent performer for his club side Cologne, Novakovic has also managed to net 16 goals in 29 games for his country and carries the bulk of their attacking hopes. He uses his body well to shield the ball and, at 6' 3'', carries an aerial threat as well. He needs to time his runs better, but will provide the USA backline with a tough test. If he scores he will become the second highest scorer in Slovenian history, moving clear of retired Saso Udovic.

USA player to watch: Clint Dempsey
After being gifted a goal against England, Dempsey will find his attacking talent utilised again on the left side of midfield, with Landon Donovan on the other. Comfortable on the ball, Dempsey's pace and skill when dribbling will ensure Miso Brecko endures a tough afternoon and he will be tasked with providing a lot of the creativity in the final third.

Key battle: Samir Handanovic v Tim Howard

If Slovenia keep a clean sheet then they will have one foot in the next round, so Handanovic will have to be on top form to stop a potent USA attack. The Udinese stopper has caught the eye in Italy this season and, at 6' 5'', is rarely beaten from crosses, while he is often one for the spectacular. At the other end, Everton goalkeeper Howard injured his ribs against England and should play through the pain barrier for his country. One of the best players on the pitch in the first game, his agility and reflexes - as well as his organisation from set pieces - will play a key part in USA's defence.

Trivia: USA are the fourth CONCACAF side to face Slovenia, who have previously played friendlies against Mexico, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago.
Stats: Slovenia have won seven of their last eight matches since losing to England in September. The USA have gone 11 consecutive matches without keeping a clean sheet.

Slovenia have a real chance of qualifying if they can pull off a result here. Even a draw would be a good result, but USA should have enough in the bank to avoid an upset and to buy themselves a penalty.... hahaha!!! :D


Take USA give 1/4 >>> SLOVENIA (Main Bet)

Take USA WIN (No Hcp)

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