category: World Cup 2014
tags: , ,

In the United States, there’s an ongoing conversation about whether or not the national football (or in their words, soccer) team can compete with the best international sides. The truth is, for some time now, the USA has been a middle-of-the-pack team in international football competition. Most European football fans hardly give the USA a second thought. However, a number of factors and developments in the past year have turned it into a real question: can the Yanks sustain their recent good play and become a consistent, quality international competitor?

Let’s be clear: there’s no need to sign in to Bet Fair and put money on the United States winning a World Cup any time soon. But things are headed in the right direction for the Americans. Here are a few specific indications that the upward trend may continue.

The Winning Streak
What’s big news in the U.S. right now has begun to grab some international attention, and perhaps for good reason. The numbers tell it all: in the past 12 international matches, the Yanks are 10-1-1, including a draw in Mexico City – a notoriously hostile environment for visiting teams. Within that record, Team USA has now won an impressive 9 straight. They may not be defeating the likes of Spain and Germany just yet, but when you get to 9 straight, it’s a positive sign no matter which teams you’re playing.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s Success
Earlier this year, frustration with former German star and current U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was mounting, to the point that a single scathing article generated a great deal of attention, and even some calls for a new coach. Since then, however, Klinsmann’s handling of the team has been masterful. Even benching Landon Donovan, the face of U.S. soccer, seemed to pay off in June, and it now seems as if Klinsmann has built a national team structure that can compete consistently.

Roster Depth
Part of Klinsmann’s success has been in manipulating rosters in a way that has kept the team winning, but also integrated new players. Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey may get the most attention, but meanwhile the likes of Chris Wondolowski and Eddie Johnson are making significant impacts. The U.S. has gone from a scrappy but imperfect team to a tiered system with options and firepower.

International Success
It’s long been thought that the top players for the U.S. don’t get enough experience in top international leagues to compete well in team international competition. This is beginning to change, slowly but surely. Jozy Altidore has just become a promising new signee for Sunderland, Michael Bradley has done well with Roma, and Dempsey is leading the way with Tottenham Hotspur. The experience seems to be paying off.

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The main discussion topics this week are the FIFA controversy that has filled the media this week. Everyone has their say on Sepp and the boys.

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Andrew Gibney is back to host the gibfootballshow podcast. He is joined by Brent Atema and Charlie Anderson as they discuss the recent qualification games for the European Championships and the African Cup of Nations.

They also discuss the recent friendly between USA and Argentina the rise of new American wonderkid Juan Agudelo. Also on the agenda is NFL superstar Chad Ochocinco’s trial with MLS team Sporting Kansas City and what it means for the player and the team.

There is also a special interview with Garreth Cummins from the Football Supporters Federation. Recently they started a petition to bring safe-standing back to English grounds, Garreth comes on to chat about the petition but also the other good work the FSF does for football fans.

A jam packed show…it’s good to be back.

 

DOWNLOAD NOW!!!

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Like most people this has come as a massive surprise, I went to the gym around 2 o’clock nothing on the TV screens then, I get home make some lunch have a look on twitter, and the place had gone crazy with MON resigned tweets…. didn’t see that one coming.

From recent Interviews you could tell he wasn’t 100% happy with the situation at Villa, but never expected him to quit, so many scenario’s come into my mind, is it the pending transfer of James Milner, surely not cause for £30m you can go buy a couple of players to replace him, I don’t think that would make him quit, maybe Lerner had told him he wasn’t getting all the Milner money to spend, maybe they factored a deal by bring a player from City that O’Neill just didn’t want, surely again not enough to make you leave a very successful job.

The other factor playing in my head is his wife, from the statements made by both the club and manager, it all sounds very amicable.

“I wish them all the best for the future. I will obviously be assisting the club in the immediate short-term with regard to the handover of my duties.”

This doesn’t seem like the words of a pissed off manager not able to stay at the club anymore, this sounds like someone that just can’t take charge of the team anymore, maybe his Wife has became ill again, it was the reason that he left Celtic all those years ago, I of course hope this is not the reason, but personal family reasons could be the cause of his departure.

It’s a sad day for both club and manager, and the fans are the ones that lose out ultimately, now the question is, who will take his place.

The bookies have Martin Jol as favourite at 5/2 if Fulham couldn’t get him to leave his Ajax role, I don’t see what Randy Lerner could do to persuade him, especially if money was the reason Martin left.

All the usual candidates are there, Curbishley, Eriksson, Bilic, Klinsmann, I doubt it would be any of them, however Klinsmann would not be a bad shout, with Jurgen’s connections in English football and over in the States, he could be interested in taking the Midlands job.

Next we’re given the option of picking managers who are already with clubs which I would be very surprised if they left a role after all the summer pre-season work, to start it all again, Steve McLaren, Allardyce, Lambert, Martinez, Holloway and Bruce will not be leaving their jobs at this stage of the season, to join a club about to lose their best player.

Aston Villa’s next manager will be someone not in a job right now, who can come straight in, no compensation needed, just a straight replacement, Gareth Southgate you say, maybe, but for Villa’s sake I hope not, is Glenn Hoddle a better or worse appointment than Southgate, I’ll leave that one up to you to decide.

A name that I thought of and I can see top of the bookies list is the man who took the USA to the Last 16 of the World Cup, Bob Bradley, they link is there surely Lerner an American with an American in charge, Bradley is a good coach, his son would also be a good replacement to Milner. With no English football experience it would be a bit of a gamble however the kind of gamble that could pay off, from what I saw at the World Cup Bradley looks a very good man manager, his team came from behind against England, Slovenia and Ghana, and played to the death against Algeria and progressed, playing some good football at time, he can also play 4-4-2 so will suit the Premier League fine.

 Bradley would be my choice for the next Manager, we will have to wait and see how this one plays out.

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The start of the knockout stages and if the other games are to be as good as the two we had today then it shall be a great tournament, at stake for the teams today the knowledge that 1 of the 4 teams would be in the semi-finals on the 6th of June.

URUGUAY

2

 

KOREA REPUBLIC

1

Luis SUAREZ (8′, 80′)     LEE Chung Yong (68′)  
         
1.Fernando MUSLERA     18.JUNG Sung Ryong  
2.Diego LUGANO     4.CHO Yong Hyung – Y  
3.Diego GODIN OUT – 46   7.PARK Ji Sung  
4.Jorge FUCILE     8.KIM Jung Woo – Y  
7.Edinson CAVANI     10.PARK Chu Young  
9.Luis SUAREZ OUT – 84   12.LEE Young Pyo  
10.Diego FORLAN     13.KIM Jae Sung OUT – 61
11.Alvaro Pereira OUT – 74   14.LEE Jung Soo  
15.Diego PEREZ     16.KI Sung Yueng OUT – 85
16.Maximiliano PEREIRA     17.LEE Chung Yong  
17.Egidio AREVALO     22.CHA Du Ri – Y  
         
Subs     Subs  
6.Mauricio VICTORINO IN – 46   19.YEOM KI Hun IN – 85
14.Nicolas LODEIRO IN – 74   20.LEE Dong Gook IN – 61
20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ IN – 84      

MY THOUGHTS

This game for me went from really exciting to poor at times but after Korea equalised it perked back up, only for Luis Suarez to curl an absolute beauty into the top corner and Jung could do nothing to stop it, Korea were stunned and couldn’t do anything in the last 10 minutes to salvage the match.

Uruguay keeper Muslera went missing for the Korea goal, flapping wildly at a cross and Lee was there to head it into the net, so far Muslera had looked pretty solid but he was to blame for Uruguay losing their first goal of the tournament, Forlan has a quiet game for his high standards apart from the cross that Jung missed that led to Suarez first goal, he didn’t really create anything else, however he did work very hard, running over 10km in the match that’s 2.5km more than the Uruguay team ran in average, shows the strikers work rate for his country. Cavani also had a good game, wandering all over the pitch trying to find space to open up the Koreans, failed to get any attempts on goal, but it was his running and passing that created chances for Uruguay.

Korean were decent but nowhere near the performances against Greece and Nigeria, Ki Sung-Yueng again was the architect in the midfield most moves go through him and he linked up well with Park Ji-Sung and Park Cho-Young, Lee Chung-Yong was busy down the right providing a few great crosses there was just no quality in the final third and it was only a goalkeeping error that got them back in the match.

In the end the better team won, Suarez answering some critics about his goal scoring record, scoring one of the goals of the tournament.

USA

1

 

GHANA

2

Landon DONOVAN (62′ PEN)     Kevin Prince BOATENG (5′)  
      Asamoah GYAN (93′)  
         
1.Tim HOWARD     22.Richard KINGSON  
3.Carlos BOCANEGRA – C – Y     2.Hans SARPEI  
4.Michael BRADLEY     3.Asamoah GYAN  
6.Steve CHERUNDOLO – Y     4.John PANTSIL  
8.Clint DEMPSEY     5.John MENSAH  
10.Landon DONOVAN     6.Anthony ANNAN  
12.Jonathan BORNSTEIN     7.Samuel INKOOM  
13.Ricardo CLARK – Y OUT – 31   8.JONATHAN Mensah – Y  
15.Jay DeMERIT     13.Andre AYEW – Y  
17.Jozy ALTIDORE OUT – 91   21.Kwadwo ASAMOAH  
20.Robbie FINDLEY OUT – 46   23.Kevin Prince BOATENG  
         
Subs     Subs  
9.Herculez GOMEZ IN – 91   10.Stephen APPIAH IN – 78
19.Maurice EDU IN – 31   11.Sulley MUNTARI IN – 113
22.Benny FEILHABER IN – 46   19.Lee ADDY IN – 73

MY THOUGHTS

Africa will be smiling tonight, after a great start and a great goal from Boateng, Ghana were the better team in the first half, the second was all about the US, Bradley made changes and they cam out fighting and pulled it back with Donovan’s penalty, they couldn’t however capatilise on the pressure they applied, the game went to Extra-Time and looked set for penalties until Ayew played a high ball over the top Gyan raced onto it, rode a challenge from Bocanegra and smashed a volley past Howard and sent the whole continent into raptures.

Left back Sarpei was solid chasing up and down the flank and also helping in the middle, was also impressed by the Mensah dup at the back John and Jonathan a mixture of young and experienced and they good had a good game, young Jonathan has come into his own in this tournament, the older Mensah needs to not give the ball away so much.

The performances of the midfield and striker were fantastic, Boateng, Asamoah, Ayew and Gyan played at their best, all covering each other and also supporting Gyan upfront whenever they could, not afraid to take a shot or charge forward, they would have troubled any time with this performance, I need to single out Asamoah Gyan, he played his best game for me, it’s a tough job to play up on your own, looking at the game stats you can see how hard he worked, running over 12.5km the old cliché “worked his socks off” applies to Gyan, 7 shots on goal and 55 passes also showing he linked up well with the midfield two of the qualities you need when playing up on his own. Adding then to his great performance a wonder goal, chasing the ball over the top then did so well to hold off Bocanegra after a blatant shoulder barge then managed to set himself for a fantastic volley, Howard had no chance and wild celebrations followed.

Ghana will now play Uruguay in the Quarter-Finals and only a fool would write off Ghana’s chances, they will have a go at Uruguay probably more than anytime has so far in this tournament, Uruguay will start as favourites as they have only conceded 1 goal and impressed doing so.

A very close game for me, I think Uruguay will just sneak it, Extra-Time may be needed.

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Another 4 teams went home today, there was a injury time winner, a nail biting finish and two favourites that will meet in the Last 16, another great day in the World Cup. I managed to watch the full Ghana v Germany game, first half of England v Slovenia and the highlights of the other 2 games.

SLOVENIA

0

 

ENGLAND

1

      Jermaine DEFOE (23′)  
         
1.Samir HANDANOVIC     1.David JAMES  
2.Miso BRECKO     2.Glen JOHNSON – Y  
4.Marko SULER     3.Ashley COLE  
5.Bostjan CESAR     4.Steven GERRARD – C  
8.Robert KOREN – C     6.John TERRY  
9.Zlatan LJUBIJANKIC OUT – 62   8.Frank LAMPARD  
10.Valter BIRSA – Y     10.Wayne ROONEY OUT – 72
11.Milivoje NOVAKOVIC     14.Gareth BARRY  
13.Bojan JOKIC - Y     15.Matthew UPSON  
17.Andraz KIRM OUT – 79   16.James MILNER  
18.Aleksandar RADOSAVLJEVIC     19.Jermain DEFOE OUT – 86
         
Subs     Subs  
14.Zlatko DEDIC - Y IN – 62   9.Peter CROUCH IN – 72
23.Tim MATAVZ IN – 79   21.Emile HESKEY IN – 86

MY THOUGHTS

Overall a much better performance for England, Capello would hope there is more to come from his men, from what I saw in the first half they played the best football they have so far, there was 10-15 really good minutes around the time of the goal, but then towards the end of the first half they were reverting to the long ball again and this is what causing England problems cause they then sit back, from the highlights in the second half, Slovenia never troubled England properly till the last 2/3 minutes and no clear cut chances.

Disappointing performance from Slovenia, Birsa looked busy as did Kirm, the front two failed to connect, and Suler was caught out for Defoe’s goal, Radosavljevic was decent in the middle the player who does the dirty work in midfield, and Handanovic made some fantastic saves, especially the save from Rooney’s chance.

Losts of good performances from England, Defoe started sharp, Gerrard was better on the left this time, Rooney did ok but still not as sharp as the English would like, 3 players that stood out were the defensive pairing of Upson and Terry they were terrific, some last ditch tackles, hearts on the sleeve kind of stuff, without their passion Slovenia may have had some more chances. and James Milner was quality, playing some lovely teasing balls in the box, one for the goal, nice to see him return to form after his bad 30 minutes against the USA, he bounced back with style and should keep his place.

England through to the last 16 more on who they’ll face later.

USA

1

 

ALGERIA

0

Landon DONOVAN (90+1′)        
         
1.Tim HOWARD     23.Rais M’BOLHI  
3.Carlos BOCANEGRA – C     2.Madjid BOUGHERRA  
4.Michael BRADLEY     3.Nabir BELHADJ  
6.Steve CHERUNDOLO     4.Anther YAHIA – C - Y/R  
8.Clint DEMPSEY     5.Rafik HALLICHE  
9.Herculez GOMEZ OUT – 46   8.Medhi LACEN – Y  
10.Landon DONOVAN     11.Rafik DJEBBOUR OUT – 65
12.Jonathan BORNSTEIN OUT – 80   13.Karim MATMOUR OUT – 85
15.Jay DeMERIT     15.Karim ZIANI OUT – 69
17.Jozy ALTIDORE - Y     19.Hassan YEBDA - Y  
19.Maurice EDU OUT – 64   21.Foued KADIR  
         
Subs     Subs  
7.DaMarcus BEASLEY - Y IN – 80   10.Rafik SAIFI IN – 85
14.Edson BUDDLE IN – 64   17.Adlane GUEDIOURA IN – 69
22.Benny FEILHABER IN – 46   9.Abdelkader GHEZZAL IN – 65

MY THOUGHTS

Only seen the highlights of this one so impossible to comment on performances, but what can you say about this USA team, lost a goal against England after 3 minutes and came back, went 2-0 down against Slovenia and came back and now with a place in the last 16 beckoning it took to the 91st minute and a never give up attitude for the US to advance, Donovan following in Altidore’s shot and he placed the rebound past M’Bolhi.

After the shocking decision to disallow the goal against Slovenia, when Dempsey’s goal was chalked off for offside in the first half maybe the Americans had it in their mind that it wasn’t to be their day, if they did think that it didn’t show it, Bradley charging forward from midfield, Dempsey and Donovan combining and I think they deserved the goal and to go through, although at Slovenia’s expense, they will hope to not have to wait to the 91st minute for a goal the next game.

GHANA

0

 

GERMANY

1

      Mesut OZIL (60′)  
         
22.Richard KINGSON     1.Manuel NEUER  
2.Hans SARPEI     3.Arne FRIEDRICH  
3.Asamoah GYAN OUT – 82   6.Sami KHEDIRA  
4.John PANTSIL     7.Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER OUT – 81
5.John MENSAH     8.Mesut OZIL  
6.Anthony ANNAN     10.Lucas PODOLSKI  
8.Jonathan MENSAH     13.Thomas MULLER - Y OUT – 67
12.Prince TAGOE OUT – 64   16.Philipp LAHM  
13.Andre AYEW - Y OUT – 92   17.Per MERTESACKER  
21.Kwadwo ASAMOAH     19.CACAU  
23.Kevin Prince BOATENG     20.Jerome BOATENG OUT – 73
         
Subs     Subs  
11.Sulley MUNTARI IN – 64   2.Marcell JANSEN IN – 73
14.Matthew AMOAH IN – 82   15.Piotr TROCHOWSKI IN – 67
18.Dominc ADIYAH IN – 92   18.Toni KROOS IN – 81

MY THOUGHTS

Really enjoyable game this, very open some really nice football, shocked it finished 1-0 with the amount of counter attacking football and near chances we saw, with Ghana needing at least a draw to go through, they really tried hard Annan who has really impressed me controlled the midfield always got time on the ball and very smart with the ball, Boateng and Asamoah were busy in midfield always trying to find space and nearly breached the German defence at times, Asamoah Gyan was the main man again and should have at least scored, great movement, great strength, great awareness, just lacked that composure upfront that they need as an attacking threat.

Germany continued their impressive attack minded football, always finding space, there was always movement off the ball, maybe lacked the danger of Klose up front, Lahm was a general tonight, clearing off the line, charging his team forward a true captains performance, Khedira and Schweinsteiger were sold and dealt well with Ghana’s threat caught out at times though, the defence still looks shaky to me and will come under sterner tests, however the attacking options will cause any team problems, with the wing play of Podolski and Muller accompanied with Mesut Ozil’s guile/skill and wisdom above his years, teams will be scared to play Germany and so they should.

Germany’s reward for winning the group will be a Last 16 tie with arch-rivals England, and what a game that could be.

AUSTRALIA

2

 

SERBIA

1

Tim CAHILL (69′)     Marko PANTELIC (84′)  
Brett HOLMAN (73′)        
         
1.Mark SCHWARZER     1.Vladimir STOJKOVIC  
2.Lucas NEILL     5.Nemanja VIDIC  
4.Tim CAHILL     6.Branislav IVANOVIC  
5.Jason CULINA     10.Dejan STANKOVIC  
6.Michael BEAUCHAMP - Y     13.Aleksandar LUKOVIC  
7.Brett EMERTON - Y     14.Milan JOVANOVIC  
8.Luke WILKSHERE – Y OUT – 82   15.Nikola ZIGIC OUT – 67
9.Joshua KENNEDY     16.Ivan OBRADOVIC  
16.Carl VALERI OUT – 66   17.Milos KRASIC OUT – 62
21.David CARNEY     18.Milos NINKOVIC  
23.Mark BRESCIANO OUT – 66   22.Zdravko KUZMANOVIC OUT – 77
         
Subs     Subs  
14.Brett HOLMAN IN – 66   4.Gojko KACAR IN – 62
11.Scott CHIPPERFIELD IN – 66   7.Zoran TOSIC IN – 77
19.Richard GARCIA IN – 82   8.Darko LAZOVIC IN – 67

MY THOUGHTS

The goals were played during the Germany game, and it looked a half decent game when Cahill opened the scoring, the 2nd goal by Holman a nice bouncing 30 yard strike gave the Aussies hope and a goal in either game and they’d have been through, but the 2-1 defeat of Serbia eliminated both teams from the Group Stage, once Pantelic scored Serbia only need a goal to advance, and they had one ruled off for offside, anda  massive chance for Pantelic at the end where he could have done better, not many clips of Australia troubling the Serbians late on, so it was a good result for Ghana as they then qualify for a game against Greece

Ghana will face the Usa on Saturday for a place in the quarter finals, the winners play the winner of Uruguay v South Korea and one of these four smaller nations will advance to the Semi’s, gotta take one game at a time.

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There is no doubt what the media over here will be focusing on in the papers tomorrow however there was 2 other games played today, one was a cracker and the other a shock result, really glad the World Cup has picked up the 2nd stage of games have been really exciting.

 GERMANY

0

 

SERBIA

1

         
      Milan JOVANOVIC (38′)  
         
1.Manuel NEUER     1.Vladimir STOJKOVIC  
3.Arne FRIEDRICH     3.Aleksandar KOLAROV – Y  
6.Sami KHEDIRA – Y     5.Nemanja VIDIC – Y  
7.Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER – Y     6.Branislav IVANOVIC – Y  
8.Mesut OZIL OUT – 70   10.Dejan STANKOVIC  
10.Lucas PODOLSKI     14.Milan JOVANOVIC OUT – 79
11.Miroslav KLOSE – Y/R     15.Nikola ZIGIC  
13.Thomas MULLER OUT – 70   17.Milos KRASIC  
14.Holger BADSTUBER OUT – 77   18.Milos NINKOVIC OUT – 70
16.Philipp LAHM – Y     20.Neven SUBOTIC – Y  
17.Per MERTESACKER     22.Zdravko KUZMANOVIC OUT – 75
         
Subs     Subs  
12.Tim WIESE     12.Bojan ISAILOVIC  
22.Hans Jorg BUTT     23.Andjelko DJURICIC  
2.Marcell JANSEN     2.Antonio RUKAVINA  
4.Dennis AOGO     4.Gojko KACAR IN – 70
5.Serdar TASCI     7.Zoran TOSIC  
9.Stefan KIESSLING     8.Darko LAZOVIC IN – 79
15.Piotr TROCHOWSKI     9.Marko PANTELIC  
18.Toni KROOS     11.Nenad MILIJAS  
19.CACAU IN – 70   16.Ivan OBRADOVIC  
20.Jerome BOATENG     19.Radoslav PETROVIC IN – 75
21.Marko MARIN IN – 70   21.Dragan MRDJA  
23.Mario GOMEZ IN – 77   13.Aleksandar LUKOVIC – Sus  

MY THOUGHTS:

Lots of expectations on the German team today, after the impressive 4-0 win over Australia and the Serbian team had lots of questions against them after a poor performance against Ghana, so everyone could only foresee one result, and of course as this World Cup proved, things don’t always go according to plan, Germany were in control until Klose picked up his second yellow card, he was sent off and soon after Serbia hit on the break and scored, apart from the Penalty that Podolski scored Germany never really troubled the Serbians and the number of people backing Deutschland will have decreased rapidly.

Milos Krasic had a great game for Serbia, much like the player being tracked by Juventus and Man City, charging down the right-wing putting in dangerous crosses and he was just a constant threat to Babstuber and the German defence, Jovanovic was busy on the left and always showing a desire to get into the box, Zigic was disappointing, apart from the knock-down for the goal he did nothing, and showed no desire to go after the ball. Subotic and Vidic were pretty solid all of the game, apart from Vidic’s crazy moment when he raised his hands and touched the ball.

Serbia showed signs of life but they were more content in stopping Germany play than actually going on to dominate the game themselves, however unless Australia improve Serbia could have 6 points and no display of great football, worrying times for football.

The Germans started pretty well, the passing and moving was there, Ozil the conductor, with Muller and Podolski on the wings, but when Klose got sent off there was no spearhead to finish off the attack, I thought Muller worked really hard today, he never stopped running on the right wing, and tried as much as he can to bring Germany back level, he showed good pace and skill, but lacked support.

Apart from losing the game the one disappointing part for Germany was when Marin and Cacau came on, they added nothing to the German team, for the 20 minutes they were on no chances were created, this will worry Low and the German fans.

SLOVENIA

2

 

USA

2

         
Valter BIRSA (13′)     Landon DONOVAN (48′)  
Zlatan LJUBIJANKIC (42′)     Michael BRADLEY (82′)  
         
1.Samir HANDANOVIC     1.Tim HOWARD  
2.Miso BRECKO     3.Carlos BOCANEGRA – C  
4.Marko SULER – Y     4.Michael BRADLEY  
5.Bostjan CESAR – Y     5.Oguchi ONYEWU OUT – 80
8.Robert KOREN     6.Steve CHERUNDOLO  
9.Zlatan LJUBIJANKIC OUT – 74   8.Clint DEMPSEY  
10.Valter BIRSA OUT – 87   10.Landon DONOVAN  
11.Milivoje NOVAKOVIC     15.Jay DeMERIT  
13.Bojan JOKIC – Y     16.Francisco TORRES OUT – 46
17.Andraz KIRM – Y     17.Jozy ALTIDORE  
18.Aleksandar RADOSAVLJEVIC     20.Robbie FINDLEY – Y OUT – 46
         
Subs     Subs  
12.Jasim HANDANOVIC     18.Brad GUZAN  
16.Aleksander SELIGA     23.Marcus HAHNEMANN  
3.Elvedin DZINIC     2.Jonathan SPECTOR  
6.Branko ILIC     7.DaMarcus BEASLEY  
7.Nejc PECNIK IN – 74, OUT – 94 9.Herculez GOMEZ IN – 80
14.Zlatko DEDIC IN – 87   11.Stuart HOLDEN  
15.Rene KRHIN     12.Jonathan BORNSTEIN  
19.Suad FILEKOVIC     13.Ricardo CLARK  
20.Andrej KOMAC IN – 94   14.Edson BUDDLE  
21.Dalibor STEVANOVIC     19.Maurice EDU IN – 46
22.Matej MAVRIC     21.Clarence GOODSON  
23.Tim MATAVZ     22.Benny FEILHABER IN – 46

MY THOUGHTS:

What a game this was, probably the game of the tournament so far a talented Slovenian team that had a fantastic start but then spirit and commitment of the American team provided a great comeback and possibly deserved the victory which was stolen away by a poor referee decision.

Was impressed with Slovenia’s start much better than the game against Algeria, Ljubijankic caused trouble from the start not just in the air but his pace got in behind the US backline, Robert Koren had a very quiet match and it was up to Valter Birsa to step up to the plate, received the ball in the middle of the pitch turned it onto his left foot and curled a beautiful ball past Howard in net, a lovely goal and a great way to kick off the game, and they finished the half off superbly Novakovic slipped a ball through to Ljubijankic and he coolly placed the ball past Howard, Slovenia were on place to Qualify to the last 16, but the USA weren’t quite beat yet.

Bradley made 2 changes at half time bringing on Edu and Feilhaber and they couldn’t have gotten off to a better start with Donovan pushed upfront he latched onto the ball and raced toward the Slovenian goal and he smashed the ball past Handanovic, Donovan played much better on the frontline giving him more chance to be effective on the ball and caused more damage.

Coach Bradley’s son Michael played fantastically well, he was the driving force behind the US comeback and he got his deserved goal, charging forward from midfield and poking Altidore’s knock down past Handanovic, Altidore was a thorn in the Slovenians side, winning a lot of knockdowns, sometimes not using his power and speed as well as he could, but his aerial presence cause problems all game.

Now the US has to beat Algeria to have any chance of reaching the last 16, we know they can score goals but I have question marks over if they can keep a clean sheet.

ENGLAND

0

 

ALGERIA

0

         
         
1.David JAMES     23.Rais M’BOLHI  
2.Glen JOHNSON     2.Madjid BOUGHERRA  
3.Ashley COLE     3.Nabir BELHADJ  
4.Steven GERRARD     4.Anther YAHIA – C  
6.John TERRY     5.Rafik HALLICHE  
7.Aaron LENNON OUT – 63   7.Ryad BOUDEBOUZ OUT – 74
8.Frank LAMPARD     8.Medhi LACEN – Y  
10.Wayne ROONEY     13.Karim MATMOUR  
14.Gareth BARRY OUT – 84   15.Karim ZIANI OUT – 81
18.Jamie CARRAGHER – Y     19.Hassan YEBDA OUT – 88
21.Emile HESKEY OUT – 74   21.Foued KADIR  
         
Subs     Subs  
12.Robert GREEN     1.Lounes GAOUAOUI  
23.Joe HART     16.Faouzi CHAOUCHI  
5.Michael DAWSON     6.Yazid MANSOURI  
9.Peter CROUCH IN – 84   10.Rafik SAIFI  
11.Joe COLE     11.Rafik DJEBBOUR  
13.Stephen WARNOCK     12.Habib BELLAID  
15.Matthew UPSON     14.Abdelkader LAIFAOUI  
16.James MILNER     17.Adlane GUEDIOURA IN – 81
17.Shaun WRIGHT-PHILLIPS IN – 63   18.Carl MEDJANI  
19.Jermain DEFOE IN – 74   20.Djamel MESBAH IN – 88
22.Michael CARRICK     22.Djamal ABDOUN IN – 74
20.Ledley KING – INJ     9.Abdelkader GHEZZAL – Sus  

MY THOUGHTS:

I’m going to start this the way most newspapers won’t Algeria impressed me tonight, great passing and moving a calm and controlled feeling to their game, if only they had a striker that could produce a great run or clinical finish.

Bougherra, Yahia and Halliche were imperial at the back any time an England player took a bad touch they were on it in a flash and stopped Rooney and co have any loose balls to punish them, Ryad Boudebouz was a surprise starter and the Sochaux midfielder played very well, his skill and ability shone through, first touch was brilliant and looks to have so much potential, Ziani and Belhadj ran themselves to the ground, Ziani was superb and was a shame he had to come off with an injury, apart from all Belhadj’s running it was a shame he couldn’t put a decent cross in.

After this performance Algeria will give USA a great game on Wednesday, and who knows a win and some goals could pull off a miracle and a place in the last 16.

A truly awful performance from England, not one player to pick out for a positive reason, no passion, no desire, no work ethic, one of the worst performances for heart and desire I’ve ever watched for an England team, I am the first person who wants them to fail, but usually they go down with a fight, Rooney one of the so called “best players in the world” was terrible, his first touch was garbage all game, never linking up with any of his teammates, Gerrard was asked to play on the left but he was continually found in the middle even on the right, leaving too much space on the opposite, I can’t believe England can play that bad again, and would expect them to play better on Wednesday.

Fabio Capello will receive lots of stick in the forthcoming days about his player selection, his tactics also his methods, I think Englands performances are to blame for part of the performance, but the players have to be to blame, Rooney’s attitude after the game was awful, those fans paid lots of money to travel to Cape Town etc to watch their team play and to have an attitude against them for voicing their concerns, Rooney should be ashamed of himself and should issue an apology, lots of things will have to change before Wednesday.

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