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Page last updated at 18:11 GMT, Friday, 18 June 2010 19:11 UK

Slovenia rue missed opportunity

Michael Bradley

Highlights - Slovenia 2-2 USA

Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek battled with mixed emotions after his side threw away a two-goal lead against the United States before hanging on to a 2-2 draw.

Leading 2-0 at half-time, Kek's side were only 45 minutes away from securing early qualification for the last 16.

"There is a lot of pride and some disappointment," he said. "But we might well benefit from it ahead of playing England on Wednesday."

Slovenia now have four points and a win against England would see them qualify.

Even though the unfancied nation of only two million people top group C, Kek could not hide his frustration with Slovenia on course for the knockout round going into the second half thanks to goals from midfielder Valter Birsa and striker Zlatan Ljubijankic.

There is something of an after taste

Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek

"There is of course something of an after taste, expectations have not been met," he said. "We were 2-0 up and then we didn't overcome the pressure and there was a blunder or two."

The most glaring mistake came from goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, who allowed Landon Donovan to shoot high above him into the roof of the net for the first US goal on 48 minutes.

Then the equaliser came with eight minutes left as US striker Jozy Altidore flicked on a header deep in the penalty area which Michael Bradley latched onto as he fired home.

And with time almost up, Malian referee Koman Coulibaly then disallowed a goal from a free-kick after a volley by Maurice Edu which would have given the Americans victory.

After the match, Donovan claimed the US had that late and potentially winning goal "stolen" from them by the debutant World Cup referee.

Valter Birsa

USA fall behind to Birsa strike



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see also
Highlights - Slovenia 2-2 USA
18 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Ljubijankic scores Slovenia's second
18 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
USA fall behind to Birsa strike
18 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Bradley to build on England draw
12 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Highlights - England 1-1 USA
12 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
England is 'easiest match' for US
11 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010


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