USA performed an entertaining comeback in their FIFA World Cup 2010 Group C match against Slovenia this afternoon – from two goals behind, they scored twice in the second half to end the match 2-2 and share a point.
Both sides could have won this match after USA’s equaliser making this the tie of the World Cup to date in terms of entertainment as the group phase approaches the business end.
Birsa got Slovenia off to the best of starts by curling a shot home in the 13th minute, before Ljubijankic ended the half on a high for the World Cup newcomers by hammering a shot home in the 42nd minute.
USA coach Bob Bradley changed things around at half time, and his tactics and team-talk seemed to do the trick as a much more aggressive and attack-minded USA emerged in the second period.
The evergreen Landon Donovan needed only three second half minutes to sprint clear up the right and smash home a shot into the roof of the net, but there were only a nervy eight minutes remaining when Michael Bradley – the coaches son – toe poked the ball home before his whole team (including substitutes) leapt onto him.
The US fans in the crowd were sent into raptures with this shot. Minutes later, they were denied a remarkable winner when Edu put the ball into the net by heading home a free-kick but the referee had blown for an infringement in the box.
Slovenia nearly got the three points they will feel their first half superiority deserved when they created a chance of their own in the final moments, but it was to be USA’s half as their back four – reinstated now the scores were levelled, from a temporary back three arrangement – held firm.
Slovenia lead the group on four points, but could so easily have been out of sight on a qualification-assured six points had they won this tie.
They will be pleased with their first half performance, which must give them some hope of the point they will need against England if Algeria fail to prevent the USA from taking three points in their final game.
Group C is poised for a final game with at least three sides with something to play for.