BBC Sport world-cup-2010


Slovenia 2-2 USA

By Jonathan Stevenson
  1. 14:40 Commentary  

    On 9 May, Vladimir Stojkovic was deemed not good enough to start as Wigan, missing their first-choice keeper, lost 8-0 at Chelsea. Today, he saved a Germany penalty for Serbia to become a World Cup hero. Life can be funny like that. Anyway, let’s move on to Group C, the ‘Group of Who Knows What Might Happen’, as it’s almost certain to become known. I’m Jonathan Stevenson, Johannesburg once more has World Cup fever and we start at the superb Ellis Park with Slovenia v USA.

  2. 14:42 Commentary  

    There is another game happening later on this evening, but it slips my mind for now… The focus is on events from Jo’burg as the team that sneaked past Algeria take on the men who frustrated England. After a slowish start to the World Cup, it’s undoubtedly caught fire in the last couple of days - and there is an awful lot at stake from here on in.

  3. 14:45 Commentary Slovenia v USA line-ups:  

    Slovenia: 1-Samir Handanovic; 2-Miso Brecko, 4-Marko Suler, 5-Bostjan Cesar, 13-Bojan Jokic, 10-Valter Birsa, 8-Robert Koren, 18-Aleksandar Radosavljevic, 17-Andraz Kirm, 9-Zlatan Ljubijankic, 11-Milivoje Novakovic.
    United States: 1-Tim Howard; 6-Steve Cherundolo, 15-Jay DeMerit, 5-Oguchi Onyewu, 3-Carlos Bocanegra; 10-Landon Donovan, 4-Michael Bradley, 16-Jose Torres, 8-Clint Dempsey; 17-Jozy Altidore, 20-Robbie Findley.
    Referee: Koman Coulibaly (Mali).

  4. 14:47 Commentary  

    Got World Cup stuff on your mind? Lie down on the couch, and spill: texts go to 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide), tweets go to @Stevo_football and there's a 606 page to boot. I'll go easy, promise.

  5. Contributor BBC Sport's Roy Hodgson  

    "I don't think the Slovenians have got a lot of attacking players in their team and I don't think taking the game to the opposition is USA's forte either particularly."

  6. 14:50 Commentary Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek:  

    “Last year we were preparing for a match against San Marino in the qualifiers, now we are bracing ourselves for a clash whose outcome could put us among the world's elite teams. The match against the Americans is massive because we have a great opportunity to put ourselves on the map of respectable soccer nations.”

  7. 14:52 Commentary USA coach Bob Bradley:  

    “We've learned from moments where we've stuck together and pulled out important wins and we've learned from days where we've let the game get away from us. Slovenia are very well organised tactically, they are very smart and their defensive record in qualifying was outstanding.”

  8. 14:54 Commentary  

    Slovenia, the country that gave the world Joze Plecnik, France Preseren, Primoz Trubar and er, the brilliantly-named Zlatko Zahovic, stand on the cusp of the last 16 for the first time. Beat USA today, and they are through to the next round. I spent three days in the beautiful city of Ljubljana a few years ago, and loved every single second of it (I’ve also been to USA, in the interests on impartiality, and that was lovely too).

  9. 14:55 Commentary  

    This game is live on BBC One, in case you were wondering, with Steve Wilson and Martin Keown your commentary team. Anyway, quiet, it's anthem time.

  10. 14:57 Commentary  

    There's nothing like seeing people sing their hearts out for the country they love to get the World Cup juices pumping. Ellis Park is our venue, Slovenia and USA are our teams, Koman Coulibaly of Mali is our referee and this one is ours to savour.

  11. 15:00 KICK-OFF Slovenia v USA  

    People who keep asking what the best result for England would be: I don't know! Frankly, this World Cup has shown us in the last couple of days that anything could happen. I say worry about your own team, not everyone else. On that moment of indecision, we're under way in Johannesburg.

  12. 1 min HANDBAGS  

    Well, well, well. Clint Dempsey goes up for a very, very early aerial challenge with Zlatan Ljubijankic and catches the Slovene on the head with his elbow.  The Slovenian players are fuming and Ljubijankic will have a nasty bruise on his head in the morning. No booking for a slightly fortuitous Dempsey.

  13. 4 mins Commentary  

    By the way, both teams made one change from their first match - Slovenia bringing in the aforementioned Zlatan Ljubijankic for Zlatko Dedic and USA bringing in Jose Torres for Ricardo Clark.

  14. SMS  

    Iain, Dundee: "Strange to think that Slovenia of all teams could be the first to qualify for round two."

  15. 7 mins Commentary  

    Scrappy start as Slovenia whip a cross in from the left and Zlatan Ljubijankic gets up well, but under pressure he can only head over the bar.

  16. 9 mins Commentary  

    Half a chance, that, maybe even more. Valter Birsa sends over a top-class cross from the Slovenia right and Milivoje Novakovic totally misses his attempted side-foot volley from 10 yards. USA haven't started yet.

  17. 606  

    From I am not a number: "A win for Slovenia would be the best result for England, that way Slovenia are guaranteed to qualify for the next round and England can trash a Slovenia B team in the final game."

  18. 13 mins GOAL Slovenia 1-0 USA  

    You want top-quality goals scored from outside the box? Then have some of this. Slovenia's decent start becomes a stunning one as Valter Birsa collects the ball 25 yards out in space and curls a glorious left-foot shot into the left-hand corner of Tim Howard's net. The Everton keeper didn't even move. As it stands, Slovenia are in the last 16.

  19. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Moyes  

    "Slovenia look organised, they look compact, and they really look like they know what they're doing. Perhaps that's because they are under less pressure than some other sides in South Africa."

  20. 17 mins Commentary  

    Slovenia, it turns out, are really quite good at football. They look dangerous every time they go forward and USA are struggling to string any passes together. Bob Bradley's men need a spell just to exert their authority on the game.

  21. Twitter  

    From fuzeldata: "Best goal of the World Cup so far."

  22. 21 mins Commentary  

    Better from USA in the last few minutes and Landon Donovan goes on a run direct at the Slovene defence only for three defenders to converge on him and clear the danger.

  23. 22 mins Commentary  

    Valter Birsa swings a wicked free-kick in from out on the right, about 45 yards out, and it skips through to Tim Howard, forcing the keeper to save against his right-hand post.

  24. 25 mins Commentary  

    Slovenia are enjoying themselves at Ellis Park, but they need to be a bit careful here because USA have got players who can hurt them. Just signs that Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey are feeling their way into the game a bit more.

  25. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Moyes  

    "Unlike some sides here in South Africa, who are just a collection of individuals, Slovenia look a real team out there. They could be a club side. England, if they're watching, will realise this lot are no pushovers, that's for sure."

  26. Contributor BBC Sport's Martin Keown  

    "Does a good job doesn't he, Robert Koren? I saw him play for West Brom this season and I'm really surprised they aren't keeping him on for next season."

  27. 30 mins Commentary  

    Now it's not a good game as the teams trade giving the ball away - but Slovenia probably won't care if that goes on for another hour because they will be in the last 16 of the World Cup.

  28. 31 mins Commentary  

    Milivoje Novakovic wins a header against Oguchi Onyewu on the edge of the USA box and seems to be pulled to the floor by the defender, but nothing doing for referee Koman Coulibaly, who waves play on.

  29. SMS  

    From Katie in Lancashire: "I had forgotten that Slovenia are the main reason Arshavin, Akinfeev and co aren't in South Africa. Wednesday won't be easy."

  30. 35 mins YELLOW CARD  

    USA are finding it pretty hard going still to be honest, but that's better from Jozy Altidore who goes on a pacy, strong run down the right until he is fouled by Bostjan Cesar, who is booked. Good position just outside the box for USA.

  31. 36 mins Commentary  

    Top-class free-kick from Jose Torres, swinging it goalwards with his left foot, but Samir Handanovic is equal to it and pushes it behind. The corner is half cleared to the edge of the box, where Jay DeMerit sends a looping header narrowly wide.

  32. 39 mins YELLOW CARD  

    USA are starting to dominate a little and a poor touch from Marko Suler lets in Robbie Findley down the left, but his cross cannot pick out a team-mate and the danger is averted. Findley is then unbelievably harshly penalised for a handball inside the Slovene area and is promptly booked - he'll miss their game against Algeria now. Rubbish refereeing.

  33. 41 mins Commentary  

    USA are all over Slovenia now. They get in down the right this time and after Clint Dempsey's pull back it seems like Landon Donovam has to score, only for Miso Brecko to coolly whip the ball off Donovan's toes and keep Slovenia ahead.

  34. 42 mins GOAL Slovenia 2-0 USA  

    Football can be such a cruel game. Just as USA think they are getting back into it, Slovenia go up the other end and double their lead. Miso Brecko starts the move and Zlatan Ljubijankic finishes it by coolly slotting past Tim Howard after Milivoje Novakovic's perfectly-timed pass.

  35. 44 mins Commentary  

    There are so many cats amongst pigeons in South Africa, it's difficult to keep track on them all. Remember: as we stand, Slovenia are in the last 16 of the World Cup.

  36. 15:47 HALF-TIME Slovenia 2-0 USA  

    Turns out the World Cup was just teasing us all along, wasn't it?

  37. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "I thought Slovenia were useless against Algeria, but they have been so effective and in Valter Birsa they've got the best player on the pitch. USA have been awful."

  38. Contributor BBC Sport's Roy Hodgson  

    "I've been really impressed with the two front players for Slovenia, both when they have got the ball and when they haven't - they are really helping their midfield out. The USA's shape is too rigid."

  39. 606  

    From hawick: "The USA are far from out of this - they were taking control before the second goal and they will create chances, especially if Slovenia go into 'hold what we have' mode (and no-one could blame them if they did)."

  40. Contributor BBC Sport's chief football writer Phil McNulty in Cape Town:  

    "Green Point's media centre is already bustling hours ahead of England's game with Algeria here in Cape Town. And Slovenia's half-time lead against the United States has got some swift calculations being made. Best leave them until the final whistle the way this World Cup is going.

    "England coach Fabio Capello's decision to ditch Robert Green and replace him with David James has caused a real stir. Did Fabio have a wobble over his goalkeeping position? Did Green's poor handling in training in Cape Town last night cause a change of heart?

    "All questions - well some of them anyway - can be laid to rest by England making it a happy 64th birthday for Capello by beating Algeria."

  41. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "Valter Birsa's finish was absolutely sensational, nothing wrong with the ball there. He's been great with both feet, his delivery and use of the ball is top-quality and he's adept at finding space too."

  42. 16:02 SUBSTITUTION  

    Back under way at Ellis Park - USA have made a double change, bringing on Maurice Edu and Benny Feilhaber at the break for Jose Torres and Robbie Findley.

  43. Contributor BBC Sport's Steve Wilson  

    "If Slovenia do go on and win this game, England only need to pick up four points from the games against Algeria and Slovenia to go through to the last 16."

  44. 48 mins GOAL Slovenia 2-1 USA  

    Horrible defending, fabulous finish. A USA ball over the top down the right catches Bostjan Cesar out as he slips and suddenly Landon Donovan is moving through on goal. Cutting in from the right he looks for a pass but there isn't one, so he lashes a shot from an angle into the roof of the Slovene net. Now we've got a game on.

  45. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Moyes  

    "He doesn't half bury that. It nearly took the keeper's head off as it went in."

  46. 50 mins Commentary  

    USA are all over Slovenia now as a free-kick from deep on the left just evades Clint Dempsey inside the area. Of course the score is Slovenia 2-1 USA, I just got excited.

  47. Contributor BBC Sport's Steve Wilson  

    "It's perfectly set up, isn't it? It's been a brilliant game so far and it might get even better."

  48. 54 mins Commentary  

    Slovenia are trying to get players forward too, but on this occasion the previously flawless Valter Birsa flights a cross from the right way over everyone's head and out for a goalkick.

  49. 56 mins Commentary  

    Great response by Slovenia to USA's goal and their powerful start to the second half. The Europeans are trying to knock it around again, they aren't panicking, just trying to play their normal game. Not easy in the circumstances.

  50. 58 mins Commentary  

    Great challenge from Marko Suler to deny Jozy Altidore a clean run through on goal, looked like the striker had got away for a moment.

  51. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Moyes  

    "The US must now keep the tempo up if they want to continue this momentum and level this one up. They've come out flying in this second half but they have to maintain it and not give Slovenia a sniff."

  52. 61 mins Commentary  

    Sounds like a brilliant atmosphere inside Ellis Park too, it's just such a watchable game of football, this one. Vuvuzelas and singing in equal measure, top-class football - what more could we want?

  53. SMS  

    Scott, Ireland: "Stevo, who woulda thought that Slovenia vs USA would be the game of the tournament?"

  54. 64 mins Commentary  

    Slovenia just in danger of over-playing it at times, but they do look a quality team when they get it right. Just goes to show, doesn't it, what a dangerous score 2-0 is? Benny Feilhaber screws one wide from just outside the box, USA fans looking increasingly tense in the crowd.

  55. 67 mins Commentary  

    Halfway through the second half and USA are struggling to create anything at the moment. The are bound to have a spell, though. Can they take their chance when it comes along?

  56. 69 mins YELLOW CARD  

    Fine line between red and yellow card there as Marko Suler runs into the back of Jozy Altidore on the edge of the Slovenia area - Altidore might have been in there. Booking for Suler, free-kick, 19 yards out, few yards right of centre...

  57. 70 mins Commentary  

    Landon Donovan smashes the free-kick goalwards and after a defender blocks it, Jozy Altidore hammers in a right-foot shot that - luckily for Slovenia - flies into the grateful arms of Samir Handanovic.

  58. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Moyes  

    "Was that a yellow card offence or a red card offence? For me the defender was the last man. I wasn't sure what the referee was going to do… but then I've not been sure what he's going to do all afternoon."

  59. 72 mins YELLOW CARD  

    The card is coming out on a regular basis now as it gets more and more tense, this time Andraz Kirm the man booked for a late challenge. Benny Feilhaber heads a free-kick goalwards, but it's an easy save.

  60. 74 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    First sub for Slovenia as Nejc Pecnik comes on for scorer of their second goal Zlatan Ljubijankic.

  61. 75 mins YELLOW CARD  

    Bojan Jokic is booked for a foul on Landon Donovan. The mistakes are creeping in now as the prize gets closer. Come on, where's your money?

  62. 78 mins Commentary  

    Jozy Altidore lashes wildly off target from outside the area on the USA left. They desperately need a goal - lose and their World Cup hopes are in real trouble.

  63. 80 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    It's striker for a defender time for USA as Oguchi Onyewu makes way for the wonderfully named Herculez Gomez.

  64. 81 mins Commentary  

    Michael Bradley curls goalwards from just outside the Slovenia area, but it's another pretty routine save for Samir Handanovic.

  65. 82 mins GOAL Slovenia 2-2 USA  

    Some USA fans are in tears because they are back in the World Cup. A ball is pumped into the Slovenia area from halfway on the right and Jozy Altidore gets up well inside the area to nod the ball down - the Slovene defence has gone missing and Michael Bradley has timed his run to perfection, on the slide poking high into the net. Great goal, great game, great World Cup.

  66. 606  

    From The Kid from Fuenlabrada: "Should be interesting now with USA playing a 3-4-3. This is where fitness comes in and, I said it earlier, the USA are very fit."

  67. 85 mins OFFSIDE  

    What a game. USA swing over a free-kick from the right and Maurice Ed is there to direct it into the net from six yards. Referee Koman Coulibaly, however, has already blown for a foul. Hmm.

  68. 87 mins SUBSTITUTION  

    Valter Birsa is off for Slovenia and Zlatko Dedic comes on. This is the best game of the tournament so far, an absolute crackerjack.

  69. 88 mins Commentary  

    The action just will not stop. Milivoje Novakovic gets his head on a cross from the Slovenia right, but it's a standard save for Tim Howard in the USA goal. It's up for grabs now.

  70. 89 mins Commentary  

    Aleksandar Radosavljevic slams one in from 25 yards and Tim Howard has to be alert to push it away to his left. I don't want it to ever end.

  71. 90 mins INJURY TIME  

    We're into three minutes of stoppage time. I wish the board had said '10' instead.

  72. Contributor BBC Radio 5 live's David Moyes  

    "I've just seen that disallowed goal for the US again - and not only was there no foul by a US player, there are probably two penalty-kick offences being committed by the Slovenian defenders. Shocking decision."

  73. 16:51 FULL-TIME Slovenia 2-2 USA  

    Quite simply a fantastic, end-to-end, absorbing game of football. Slovenia led 2-0, USA fought back to 2-2, but there was so much more besides. No-one expected a gem from this one, but that's exactly what we got. Buzzing.

  74. 16:52 Commentary  

    Jozy Altidore furiously remonstrates with the referee on the whistle and has to be pulled away by a team-mate. USA are rightly furious about that disallowed goal.

  75. Contributor BBC Sport's Alan Hansen  

    "Having said there was no way back for the Americans at half-time, I'm a broken man. But the comeback was absolutely sensational and at the end there was only going to be one winner."

  76. 16:55 Commentary  

    From the best game of the tournament, that's a wrap. The super-keen Caroline Cheese is already on the build-up to England v Algeria, so pop along and keep her company and I'll see you again in a little while.

By David Ornstein

Michael Bradley struck a dramatic late equaliser as the United States came from two goals down to draw with Slovenia in a pulsating Group C encounter in Johannesburg.

It seemed Slovenia were heading through to the last 16 when the superb Valter Birsa put them ahead with a curling effort and Zlatan Ljubijankic drilled in to double the lead shortly before half-time.

But US coach Bob Bradley made a double change at the interval and the move paid immediate dividends, Landon Donovon racing clear on the right and firing high into the roof of the net.

Slovenia were now firmly on the back foot and the US pressure finally told as Michael Bradley, the son of Bob, poked past Samir Handanovic on 82 minutes.

The Americans thought they had won it through substitute Maurice Edu's volley but the strike was harshly ruled out by referee Koman Coulibaly for an alleged pull and the US players were furious.

It was a result that leaves the group wide open ahead of England's meeting with Algeria later on Friday and the final round of matches at 1500 BST on Wednesday.

The US, who are on two points, take on Algeria in Pretoria and surprise package Slovenia, on four points, play England in Port Elizabeth.

And both sides will go into their respective games with confidence following this thriller at Ellis Park.

Fresh from beating Algeria in their opening game last Sunday, Slovenia arrived knowing a win would seal their passage to the knockout rounds - a remarkable prospect for a nation of only two million people, appearing in only its second World Cup.

But any suggestion they might be unnerved by the history that beckoned was swiftly banished as Matjaz Kek's side got off to a confident and composed start.

Well organised and hard-working, Slovenia were comfortable in possession and looked to pass and move with a minimum of touches at every opportunity.

There was a clear chemistry between their midfield and attack - Robert Koren, Birsa, Ljubijankic and Milivoje Novakovic linking beautifully - and, at times, the US were left to chase shadows.

Birsa, in particular, was troubling the US defence and the talented Auxerre winger signalled his intent with an early run and cross from the right that Novakovic narrowly failed to connect with.

Bob Bradley's men carried a fair threat of their own, but for all the impressive build-up play between Michael Bradley, Robbie Findley, Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore, they desperately lacked a cutting edge.

The same could not be said of Slovenia, however, and they deservedly went ahead when Birsa collected possession 25 yards out and unleashed a delightful curler that Tim Howard could only watch sail into his left-hand corner.

It was one of the most eye-catching strikes of the tournament to date and appeared to fill the Slovenians with even more belief, but one of the great strengths of this US side is their never-say-die attitude and they launched a stirring response.

Jose Torres saw a stinging free-kick clawed to safety by Handanovic before Jay DeMerit looped a header wide and a Dempsey cross was poked behind by the faultless Miso Brecko with Donovan waiting to tap in.

It seemed certain the US would score from that last chance and they still appeared to be ruing their failure to do so when Slovenia launched a counter-attack and doubled their lead.

Novakovic picked up possession in plenty of space and fed Ljubijankic, who escaped the non-existent attentions of DeMerit and slotted low into Howard's bottom corner.

Bradley responded with his double switch, replacing Torres and Findley with Edu and Benny Feilhaber, and the large sections of American fans inside the ground roared their players back on to the field.

Within minutes they had pulled one back - Bostjan Cesar inexplicably missed a long ball over the top and Donovan surged into the box before slamming home - and Slovenia were on the ropes.

The US were committing increasing numbers to each attack and after Altidore lashed straight at Handanovic, the keeper again had to be alert to clasp a curling Michael Bradley drive.

With Slovenia keen to extend their advantage, the match was ebbing and flowing like few others preceding it in the tournament and the stadium was rocking with atmosphere.

In a final throw of the dice, Bob Bradley brought on a striker, Herculez Gomez, for defender, Oguchi Onyewu, and again it paid off as Michael Bradley burst from midfield and fired past Handanovic after an excellent knockdown by Altidore.

There was still time for drama - Edu's volley from Donavona's free-kick was disallowed, Novakovic went close with a header and Alexsander Radoslavljevic had a thunderous strike parried by Howard - but neither side could force a winner.

Slovenia Slovenia Flag 2-2 USA Flag USA FT

(HT 2-0)

Birsa, 13
Ljubijankic, 42
Donovan, 48
Bradley, 82






  • Venue: Ellis Park
  • Referee: K Coulibaly
  • Attendance: 45,573
Slovenia     USA
  • Possession 51%
  • Attempts on target 5
  • Attempts off target 1
  • Corners 2
  • Fouls 13

Projected table based on current scores

Group A

Group A teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Uruguay 3 2 1 0 4 0 4 7
Mexico 3 1 1 1 3 2 1 4
South Africa 3 1 1 1 3 5 -2 4
France 3 0 1 2 1 4 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Argentina 3 3 0 0 7 1 6 9
South Korea 3 1 1 1 5 6 -1 4
Greece 3 1 0 2 2 5 -3 3
Nigeria 3 0 1 2 3 5 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams P W D L F A GD PTS
USA 3 1 2 0 4 3 1 5
England 3 1 2 0 2 1 1 5
Slovenia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
Algeria 3 0 1 2 0 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Germany 3 2 0 1 5 1 4 6
Ghana 3 1 1 1 2 2 0 4
Australia 3 1 1 1 3 6 -3 4
Serbia 3 1 0 2 2 3 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Netherlands 3 3 0 0 5 1 4 9
Japan 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Denmark 3 1 0 2 3 6 -3 3
Cameroon 3 0 0 3 2 5 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Paraguay 3 1 2 0 3 1 2 5
Slovakia 3 1 1 1 4 5 -1 4
New Zealand 3 0 3 0 2 2 0 3
Italy 3 0 2 1 4 5 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Brazil 3 2 1 0 5 2 3 7
Portugal 3 1 2 0 7 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 3 1 1 1 4 3 1 4
North Korea 3 0 0 3 1 12 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams P W D L F A GD PTS
Spain 3 2 0 1 4 2 2 6
Chile 3 2 0 1 3 2 1 6
Switzerland 3 1 1 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 3 0 1 2 0 3 -3 1

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