Slovenia's Matjaž Kek (left) and US boss Bob Bradley will match wits on Friday.
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Slovenia-USA positional breakdown

Udinese's Samir Handanovič is a hot transfer topic in Europe. In the Algeria win, we saw just a glimpse of why that is so. He can make some highlight reels saves. 



Tim Howard is ready to shake off rib pain to put in another hero showing. He'll need to be on his toes if Milivoje Novakovič is allowed to tee up from distance straightaway. 

Center backs Boštjan Cesar and Marko Šuler are unspectacular, but solid. Wingbacks Mišo Brečko and Bojan Jokić, however, can be greatly troubled by clever wing play. It helps them that Cesar and Jokić play together at Chievo.


The fullbacks don’t nearly contribute in attack as much as the team needs them. Jay DeMerit is not a world beater and Oguchi Onyewu is visibly hampered despite his fitness claims. Lots of weaknesses.
Slovenia also could alter the midfield approach, but Valter Birsa and Robert Koren will be expected to create their offense. Holding player Aleksander Radosavljevič displayed what a good distributor he is against Algeria.


Despite 86 minutes of excellence against England, there may be a change or two here. If Bob Bradley slides Clint Dempsey to "small forward" from the wing, it might be a good idea to involve the crossing of Stuart Holden.

Novakovič is the front man, and a tricky one at that. Zlatko Dedič is the gnat that won't stop buzzing, buzzing, buzzing - and he likely starts. It isn't the best tandem in the finals, but they are certainly far above the worst.


Folks in Slovenia are a bit scared of powerful runner Jozy Altidore. He could also do aerial damage as the opponent's do not have his ladder. It is unclear which of the other three strikers, if any, will get a starting nod.

 The boss is somewhat secretive, has basically installed one general system to run with and prepares obsessively. Unlike Bradley, Matjaž Kek has had to overcome significantly greater odds to even qualify for the competition.


A 1-1 tie against England is a good start for first-time World Cup manager Bob Bradley. Then the Swiss head coach credits Bradley’s tactics in 2009 against Spain in playing a part in the biggest upset of the 2010 World Cup.

While their back-up forwards are dangerous and more experienced than their American counterparts, the other names are not as impressive and possess less international experience compared to the US squad.


With any possible line-up, Bradley will have style options off the bench at forward and in midfield. Despite an off showing in his last appearance,  Jonathan Spector could prove key because he can play all three spots.
Make no mistake, this is the biggest game in Slovenia's soccer history by far. They will be drilled with instruction and fired up. They absolutely do not want to fall behind, but their impressive cohesion sends a message that the U.S. don't either.


The US have everything set up how they want and are rightful favorites to beat Slovenia. But that alone gets them nothing. They need to avoid mistakes and create chances against an organized team defense to do the business.