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World Cup Daily Recap: USA rallies, England draws, Serbia stuns Germany


photo by Joe Toth/


If the U.S. national team's World Cup opening draw against England was a test of its character, the match against Slovenia was a final exam.

After falling behind, 2-0, to goals from Valter Birsa and Zlatan Ljubijankic, the United States managed a memorable comeback draw in its second Group C match. 

Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley each netted second-half goals, as the Americans erased another slow start. Donovan became the third American to score in multiple World Cups, rifling home a shot over goalkeeper Samir Handanovic from a tight angle, while Bradley got on the end of a headed pass from Jozy Altidore before knocking the ball into the net in the 82nd minute.

While the 2-2 draw was a good result for the United States considering the circumstances it was in, the game ended in controversial fashion. Maurice Edu got on the end of a Donovan free kick and scored what would have been the go-ahead goal, but Malian referee Koman Coulibaly waved it off for a nonexistent foul.

Bad call or not, the United States' hopes of advancing to the knockout stages are still alive, with a win against Algeria in the final group match all that is needed to do so.

Here are the match highlights, as well as from the rest of Friday's matches:

Algeria holds England to scoreless draw

England may boast a team with some of the best players in the world, but for the second straight game that talent couldn't pull out a win.

England was held to a 0-0 draw by Algeria, leaving the frustrated Three Lions with just two points from two games in Group C.

Facing the possibility of elimination, Algeria stood toe-to-toe with Wayne Rooney and England en route to its first point of the tournament. Despite losing the possession battle, the Desert Foxes put forth an organized defensive effort and even attempted to get forward in search of a goal that never came.

The 0-0 draw leaves both teams with a chance to advance for the Round of 16, although Algeria needs a win and some help in order to progress. The Three Lions, which are facing the possibility of elimination from a group the English media deemed easy, has a couple ways in which it could advance, but a win against Slovenia is the simplest scenario.

Here are the match highlights:

10-man Germany falls to Serbia, 1-0

A first-half red card and a missed penalty kick were Germany's undoing as it lost its first World Cup group stage match since 1986.

In a match with a card-happy referee, Serbia shocked the Germans, 1-0, off a Milan Jovanovic shot in the 38th minute. The goal, which Jovanovic scored from close range, came moments after Miroslav Klose was ejected from the match with his second yellow.

Even with the man advantage, Serbia's defense struggled to keep Germany from equalizing. The Serbians surrendered a penalty kick for the second consecutive match when Nemanja Vidic handled a ball at the hour mark. Goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic stopped the ensuing kick from Lukas Podolski, setting the tone for the remainder of the game as Serbia won its first World Cup match as an independent nation.

Former U.S. youth national team defender Neven Subotic started, played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in the match.

Here are the match highlights:


What do you think of Friday's games? Think the United States-Slovenia match was the best of the tournament so far? Impressed by Algeria? What do you attribute England's struggles to? Think Germany and Serbia will both get out of Group D?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. i was watching espn deportes and they replayed the play, the showed mb cleating the back of the first slovenian defender as he was being tugged, the guy tumbled due to mb cleating him, but either way thats bullsh++

  2. Yeah, old habits die hard. It’s disgraceful the way they treated Robert Green. It’s like they have to destroy him to make it crystal clear to everyone, including themselves, that he was the problem, NOT England.

    I was VERY impressed by the English announcer for the Slovenia game for this very reason. He was very respectful of the U.S. and seemed completely objective.

  3. That’s my point: when there’s a lot of contact in the area, the ref will whistle the attacking team. It’s less polemic than calling a PK. If you see the replays for the game, see what the ref is looking at when he blows the whistle – Boca and random Slovenian guy going at it.

    I still believe you guys got robbed, but if I were FIFA and wanted to fix games I would favor the USA, not the other way around. There’s a lot more money to be made by helping the USA advance!

    Anyway, my opinion still is that the ref was grossly incompetent and not ready for a game in the big stage (he’s been ref in the African cup but that’s certainly not a big-stage tournament). I don’t think he is corrupt.

  4. no, what was bogus was how he blew the whistle before donovan even kicked the ball… usually, that’s a replay, but he even went so far as to call the foul against us. totally unreal. he should have at least had the decency to wait until the ball made it into the box to blow the whistle, instead of the temerity to put the whistle in his mouth before the play even started

  5. i have to say something about the gooch haters. on the first goal, if clark is there, they may not score. that was not gooch’s play. on the second goal, he ran at first with the runner, until the ball was played back across the defense. the second goal was more of an excellent hold-up run from the scorer than a mistake by gooch, who did exactly what you’re supposed to do on a counter attack.

    either way, we had a goal called back in the first half (with a yellow to boot), and a goal called back in the second. i’ll say that our guys played excellently, despite what the bogus ESPN rankings and all the other armchair coaches believe.

  6. its a shame the only american commentator with a spine is relegated to podcasts while all these other dufuses are all over national television.

  7. I think Bradley and Donovan both caught the eye of some top level teams today with their work rate and class. I think they both showed they have “It”

  8. You make several excellent points:

    1. I agree, I don’t think Oneywu is totally fit or recovered from his injury. Every time Goodson has filled in for him, he has performed well. I think Goodson should start against Algeria.
    2. Torres didn’t work out so well against Slovenia, I think mainly because of his size. He’s a small guy, and Slovenia’s midfield plays physically. However, he may be the finesse player we need to break down Algeria.
    3. In a strange way, I’m glad Findley isn’t an option for Algeria too. His first touch isn’t great, and he doesn’t finish well at this level. I would start Buddle, and bring Gomez in if needed…maybe bring him in anyway at some point in the second half, perhaps for Altidore.
    4. I’m not sure about Howard. That strike by Birsa was well hit, and I’m not too sure any keeper would have gotten to it. On the second goal, Howard had started to come out to cut off the angle, but Ljubijankic hit it early and placed it well. I think BOTH those goals were defending errors by Oneywu, emphasizing mine and your point about him.
    5. Lastly, your spot on about giving up early goals. We simply need to find whatever it takes to rid the team of that “virus.”

    My line up for Algeria would look like this:






    Gomez for either Buddle or Altidore, depending on how either is playing

    Torres for Edu

    Holden for either Buddle or Altidore and shift Dempsey up top, moving Holden into right outside midfield

  9. Theres no such thing as “the starter” anymore…until we have Jermaine jones atleast….Bob Bradley will use Clark for world class teams and players with more finesse for weaker teams

  10. 2 Thoughts, the US has to play like it is a goal down each and every game. What the US was doing the first 20 minutes yesterday was hard to understand; pass around the back and then, a long kick forward to the other team.

    Second, the English players actually believe their press clippings. It’s as if these players are so arrogant that another team to play them. I keep waiting for one of them to pull out some clippings to show the opposition players how good he is and the opposition should just give up.

  11. please rewatch the game Miguel. He whistled for an american foul every time we put a dangerous ball into their box off of a set peace, not just the time we actually scored. To say there was no corruption is naive at this point.

  12. I have now rewatched the match. 5 Separate occasions when we were down a goal, once at 1-0 and 4, 4 times!!!, when we were down 2-1 the referee instantly blew his whistle to stop play when a ball was whipped into the slovenian box. This was beyond fishy, unfortunately the media and talking heads do not have the balls to suggest corruption and show this pattern of cheating throughout the match. If the blown call on the 3rd goal was an isolated incident than I would be ok just saying that the ref made a horrid mistake and should get the benefit of the doubt. However, this man reffed like he was scared of the US scoring and limited their chances by taking away every corner/free kick chance by whistling for fouls every time. That SOB was on the take, and you cannot convince me otherwise.

  13. As maddening as the foul call is, if Coulibaly comes out and says he made a mistake and there was no foul, he blew the whistle for xyz reason. Then there will be some closure to this. BUT I don’t expect it to happen and for that reason I point a very disappointed and angry finger at the ugly face of FIFA.

  14. My post was a joke, but you have a good point. Edu just barely touches (read: touch, not grab) the Slovenian defender (most likely to just get a read on his path) before going in to slot home the (non) goal. Right after that, this Slovenian defender goes in for a sliding tackle to try and stop the play. He did not take a dive, but was trying to make a defensive play. My theory then is that the ref saw Edu touch the defender, who then went to the ground to stop the play, he believed that Edu brought him to ground. This is the only thing, to me at least, that makes even a tiny bit of sense – although still an awful call and we are now in a much tougher position than is warranted.

    All of the bear-hugs were clear fouls (especially the one on Bradley – good lord!) and could have easily been called for penalties. Instead he sees the love-tap and thinks that the Slovenian went to ground because of it.

    Or was it Gomezs fall?

    Or this is just a new kind of soccer-terrorism that will be perpetrated against all democratic countries. Mali- consider yourselves invaded.

  15. Now I just read this!

    “Coulibaly appeared to rule that American midfielder Michael Bradley had impeded a Slovenian defender, even though video replays appeared to show no infringement.”

    He impeded him by allowing him to put him in a bear hug?

  16. one or two things: if you guys want to be taken seriously at football world stage, stop whining all the time. EVERY team has to put up with bad or questionable refereeing at some time or the other, so get over it. Btw, the freekick leading up to the third goal was questionable to begin with.
    Second: the US team has some odd and annoying habits. Onyewu lingering in front of the other team’s goalie when he is trying to direct the wall is outright ridiculous. Donovan actively ordering the ref to hand out yellows for the opponent EVERY time is petulant and petty. Same goes for the coach.

  17. I was thinking the same thing. I couldn’t understand why some people were saying we needed help from England. England winning would have put us in third. It’s hard to believe, but with England tying Algeria 0-0 we now have second place with two points!

  18. I’m impressed. Well, not really, but they usually don’t even do that much. I wonder if this happened because even some African people were saying the ref was an embarrassment to them.

  19. Yeah, that has to be the call by the ref because there simply isn’t anything else. There was no way that it was a foul by Edu, but let’s just say that it was. The referee had at least three choices to call a penalty for the U.S. before Edu even went by the defender.

    If it wasn’t so maddening it would have been hilarious. The replays show at LEAST three U.S. players being held in bear hugs even as they start to run! The only reason Edu got there and wasn’t locked up in a bear hug himself was because he came from so far back.

    So we’re supposed to believe that Edu brushing by the defender, with practically no contact, was called by the ref after he decided that none of the bear hugs were fouls? This was a ref looking at U.S. players only because he was intent on stopping them from winning.

    As someone has already suggested, perhaps Mali bordering on Algeria makes them just a little too chummy for a Mali ref to be calling the game before Algeria’s last chance against the U.S.

  20. I can’t seem to stop watching the replays since they keep showing the games and highlights over and over, and I keep noticing new things.

    On a couple of the replays of the first goal by Slovenia it clearly shows Gooch was not only kind of immobile, but also that he could have stopped that goal by blocking the shot. I know it’s easy for me to say that you should let someone slam a ball into you from close range, but as painful as it may be you don’t usually hear of anyone getting a serious injury from being hit by the ball. If he blocks that shot instead of turning away from it, the U.S. had a good chance of winning the game even with the horrible call by the ref.

  21. I believe in the US team will take care of business against Algeria. Yesterday’s game here in France was called to best and most exciting in the WC yet.

  22. Yeah, I had a feeling it might be something to do with seeing the ball, but I believe the second goal was definitely a case of him involuntarily protecting his ribs. I have seen it so many times now and he comes out and initially just goes for the ball with his feet only, leaving a ton of space the to the right for the ball to be slipped by him. Under normal circumstances he and any other goalkeeper will make themselves wide by sending their legs one way and then getting the body down and stretched out the other way so that there is very little room to get the ball by them without chipping it. He just doesn’t get down. Subconsciously he’s got to be thinking about getting slammed in the ribs again. If he is in the same condition for the last game I hope there aren’t to many one on one’s with him.

  23. Goals scored is the second tiebreaker. The only way it goes to a coin toss is if USA and England have the same number of goals scored (since head-to-head, which is the third tiebreaker, also doesn’t break it).

  24. Word.

    Ref blew the whistle before Edu got to the ball. He was blowing the play dead no matter what. Why? I just don’t know.

  25. You haven’t taken into account that the goal differential accounts for goals scored against too. Meaning USA and ENG are even with zero.

    If the USA ties ALG and ENG ties SLO and no goals are scored SLO wins the group and the USA and ENG draw lots for who advances

  26. It’s pretty hard for USA to win and not beat out the Slovenes on tiebreakers. Slovenia would need to score as many goals in their tie as USA scores in their win to force even a coin toss for first place. That’s pretty damn unlikely. It could happen that they draw England 1-1 and USA only win 1-0, in which case they have a 50% chance of going through in first.

    It needs to be added at this point that it’s not at all clear that first place is desirable. Ghana needs only to beat Australia and get a result against a Klose-less Germany to win that group. About the only guaranteed good thing about finishing first is ending up on the other side of the bracket from Argentina.

  27. Same for me. Rivalry or no rivalry, you have to put that aside and root for your confederation in the World Cup. If your rivals do well, does that not that make you look better by comparison?

    It’s the same as rooting for teams from your conference in bowl games or March Madness.

    Speaking of confederations, I know Europe doesn’t do so well when it’s off their soil, but this has to be about the worst European showing ever. France likely to crash out, Greece likely to crash out, probably only one team from Group C (and maybe not the one they’d have fancied, either), Germany and Serbia trading miscues, Portugal barely hanging on for a 0-0 draw… I’d mention Spain but technically they did lose to another Euro side… there could be 7 European teams eliminated after the group stages, easily.

  28. Howard said he never saw the ball. His view was somewhat obscured by Onyewu. That would have been a tough save regardless.

  29. My only explanation for Howard not moving on that shot is that he could not see where the ball was going until it was in the box. With him at the 6 and the defenders lined up at the 18 or even deeper, the ball was practically on top of him before he could see which direction to react. As a GK, you know when you can make a save and when you can’t. This seemed to be one of those situations where by the time he saw it, he knew it was in. I’d like to think that’s all it was, because he sure made some important cross and high ball plays during the game which really puts the strain on the rubs as well with the stretches and landings.

  30. Note that Slov advance with a tie in all scenarios, and even in first place unless we win and have a higher goal difference than them. So Slov will play not to lose. If England can’t break them down and it ends in a tie, we could advance by tying Algeria. (Yes I know that the sure thing is to just win the game.) But it is also a factor that we’ve scored 3 goals to England’s 1. This means in the scenario where both games tie, we have a leg up since it would go to the second tie break, goals for, for second place.

    If there’s a way for this team to skate by on the edge and give us all a heart attack they probably will, so I’m preparing for it.

  31. I have to agree with the howard comments. He really did not seem like himself. Granted, we expect miracles every game, but that is what he manages to do consistently. He was average today, but we (and he) expect much more than we saw.

  32. So, word is Koman Coulibaly is going to be suspended the rest of the World Cup as FIFA has expedited a review of the call and his match performance.

    *******************Hell Yes*******************

    At least there is some piece of mind that he’s being held accountable, if only a time-machine was available, too.

  33. Well, I said before the Cup began that the US backline was shaky and Gooch was not ready to play. Haven’t changed my mind. Gooch has great heart, but the head isn’t there yet. Slovenia’s #2 goal was on him. #1 was on a defense that still has no field commander, though Demerit looks like he has figured out that he’ll have to be that guy ahead of “Doc the Rock” Howard. Outside backs: we’ve got one great one out of two, and it isn’t the captain. Edu: The C. Blanco of the USA without the distribution. Hmm.
    Fact: USA problem is not scoring; it’s defense. At some point someone is going to figure that out, hopefully Bradley before Algeria.

  34. I noticed that quick whistle when the ball was around the Slovenian box as well, more than a bit suspicious but until we trace the ref’s bank accounts or see him in a new Mercedes we will never know.

  35. It’s just a coincidence that FIFA is investigating match-fixing involving several teams in Slovenia’s domestic league, honest.

    The betting syndicates involved would never think to offer the ref some encouragement to ensure a certain result.

    Of course not!

  36. After watching the replay of USA-Slovenia it became very clear to me that Edu committed the foul. We all know that FIFA does not allow Americans to score game-winning goals.

    Sheesh people. And you call yourselves soccer fans?

  37. I honestly think that we need to put Dempsey up top with Buddle or Gomez, put Holden on the right and Landon on the left. Put MB and Feilhaber on mid. We should really rest Gooch.


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