The United States vs. Slovenia World Cup match continues play for Team USA on Friday. The United States vs. Slovenia match result is just as important for both countries, because it could dictate which one of them advances out of Group C play at the 2010 World Cup. In the first games, Team USA tied England, and Slovenia beat Algeria. That gave Slovenia the lead in Group C, with England and the United States tied with one point (for the tie) in second place, with Algeria bringing up the back for now.
The expectation is that England will beat Algeria on Friday, pushing them to four points total, and equating to more than the United States or Slovenia has right now. If Team USA can pull off the win, they too will jump to four points, with just one game against Algeria remaining. Likewise, if Slovenia loses, they will remain at just three points, and would need to beat England in the final match of Group C on Wednesday, June 23. If they tied England, they would lose the head-to-head tie-breaker with Team USA, leaving the United States and England advancing to the single elimination rounds.
Many analysts have been stating that Slovenia doesn’t have to beat the United States to advance out of Group C, but if they don’t beat Team USA, then they will almost definitely have to beat England. That would appear to be a tougher match-up for Slovenia on paper, raising the importance level of the match against Team USA. The United States is also well aware of the importance of playing strong against Slovenia because, if Team USA loses, then the tournament is virtually over for them. It’s why they play the matches, though, because so much can happen when tie-breakers come into play involving just three countries.
The United States got a real gift when they were able to steal a tie from England back on Saturday, but they will need to bring everything to their match on Friday. They can’t give up a goal in the third minute again and hope to come back, and they need to be more defense-minded in the early moments of this one. The United States vs. Slovenia match kicks off at 7 a.m. PST (10 a.m. EST), so it will be a bit of an early morning for soccer fans hoping to tune in, but ESPN, as well as ESPN3.com, will be there to provide us all the live coverage.
It seems like each match that the United States plays becomes the biggest one in the team’s history, and this one could end up being just as important. Team USA is in a must-win situation here, and will need to handle Slovenia if they have any hope of competing at the World Cup level. We are just about a week from progressing to the single elimination round of the tournament and, if they want to have any chance against either Ghana or Germany (leaders of Group D), they need to prove to be formidable right now.
Slovenia has guaranteed a victory, making the upcoming match even more interesting. At the least, it should provide some nice bulletin board material for Team USA.