World / World Cup - International

Slovenia v. Algeria, what can the US expect

Slovenia walked off with a victory today from a combination of poor Algerian play. Through most of the match the Algerians and Slovenians looked fairly matched. The Slovenians as usual were organized and strong defensively. They showed the occasional spark in the attack, but didn’t do much. The Algerians also played solidly defensively, and also managed to create a few opportunities.

The tide of the game changed late in the second half, when Abdelkader Ghezzal earned a red card in the 73 minute. He had come on as a second half substitute and earned two yellow cards on very foolish plays by tugging an opponent’s jersey and making a blatant handball in the box. After this Robert Koren was able to score on a well placed shot, that ought to have been saved. The Algerian goalie had it covered but let the ball bounce over his hands into the net.

The Slovenians didn’t show anything that ought to worry the US. Although they might score a goal, the real issue will be whether or not the US can break down their solid defense. If the US decides to pressure over the whole of the pitch, the Slovenians might be able to score on the counter-attack. None of the individual players looked very dangerous either, and the US team should match up well at all positions against the Slovenians.

The Algerians on the other hand showed some speed on the wings that might cause the US some problems. The Slovenians dealt well with this, but the US looked vulnerable to speedy wingers against the English. Karim Matmour also looked a bit dangerous for the Algerians. However, the Algerian team overall did not look as competitive as the Slovenian team. The US ought to be able to dominate the Algerians, but, again, could get caught on a quick counter-attack. If the US beats Slovenia soundly on Friday, then they won’t be in the position to have to get a win against Algeria. This will mean that the US won’t have to risk pushing so far forward that they could get hit on the counter.

I would expect the US to control the ball most of the game against Slovenia and to score at least one goal from a set piece. Other than a counter attack, I don’t see the Slovenians breaking down the US team or scoring off a set piece. Of course anything can happen. As for the Algeria game the US have to be firm favorites and don’t have much to fear. What do you think of the opposition?

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