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Friday World Cup kickaround

*Mathematically, the United States does not have to win today. Realistically, the United States has to win today. Beyond the ramifications to the Group C table, the Americans, for the good of the sport in the States, simply cannot lose to Slovenia. Agree?

*Weather at Ellis Park: 56 degrees and clear.

*With heavy hearts, the Mandela family is pleased with the World Cup's impact.

*Talk World Cup with D.C. United's Ben Olsen.

*After winning the NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers last night, Slovenia native Sasha Vujacic turns his attention to the World Cup.

*In the wake of Robert Green's howler against the United States, England Manager Fabio Capello has chosen David "Calamity" James to start in goal against Algeria today. Happy 64th birthday, Fabio.

*Irish supporters aren't shedding any tears over France's plight.

For today's schedule, TV listings and predictions.....

Matchday 8
Germany-Serbia 7:30 a.m. ET
ESPN, Univision, ESPN Deportes, (ESPN Classic at 6)
Prediction: Germany, 1-0.

USA-Slovenia 10 a.m.
ESPN, Univision, ESPN Deportes, (ESPN Classic at 8)
Prediction: USA, 2-1.

England-Algeria 2:30 p.m.
ESPN2, Univision, ESPN Deportes, (ESPN Classic at 10)
Prediction: England, 2-0.

By Steve Goff  |  June 18, 2010; 6:05 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , D.C. United , England , France , Ireland , TV , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: Fabio Capello, South Africa, USA-Slovenia, World Cup  
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Next: Africa's animal kingdom plays the beautiful game


Does anyone else wish we could just fastforward through the Germany game?

Posted by: biga116 | June 18, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Skipping this game? I could make a tasteless comment about the Genocide Perpetrators Playoff.....

Goff's predictions sound reasonable. I'll give the Germans 2 goals, the English 3 goals, and pray he's right about a USA win...

Posted by: fischy | June 18, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Tasteless comments aside, I think the US can afford to tie the game today although that is certainly not the preferred outcome.

Meanwhile, here's a very good preview of Slovenia from Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney:

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | June 18, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

i've got a nauseous feeling about the US game. granted, it doesn't happen often, but when was the last time they were favored to win a game, where they actually did (iran in '98, poland in '02, potentially ghana in '06)? they simply do better when they are underdogs (portugal '02, italy '06, england '10). that, combined with the fact that they simply don't seem to match up with these tall/strong eastern euro teams, point to a big let-down. no wonder i had a tough time sleeping last night!

Posted by: birdynumnum | June 18, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I hear ya birdynumnum. But as we get better, we have to accept that we'll be favored against some non-CONCACAF opponents and we'll have to play at a high level and not rely on our opponents to bring out the best in us.

Capello can't handle the WC pressure. He should have stuck with Green.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 18, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

I loved the Tim Howard ads last night during the NBA Final. If anything will make Americans love soccer, seeing Tim be all beast would be it.

ps to Birdy: Great movie.

Posted by: ldmay | June 18, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

The referee in the Serb - Germ game is really a Krusty the Clown.

And Alexi Lalas is Sideshow Bob...

Posted by: JkR- | June 18, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Serbia leads Germany 1-0, they scored on a nice play were the ball was crossed from the right to their big target man Zigic at the far post who knocked it down for Milan Jovanovic (Gooch's old teammate at Standard Liege) in the middle.

Unfortunately, the play happened about a minute after the Spanish ref had harshly sent off Miroslav Klose with a 2nd yellow. His tackle was slightly from behind but barely notable otherwise.

Posted by: Joel_M_Lane | June 18, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

5 yellows and red in the first half. The Guardian says this ref sent off 11 players in 17 games in La Liga.

Bad luck, I guess that he keeps getting assigned to tetchy matches....

Posted by: JkR- | June 18, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

It took a week, but we have our first refereeing boner of the tournament. Terrible decision on Klose.

Oh and I don't buy into this "we're favorites today" talk. We've never beaten an Eastern European team in a competitive match. And Slovenia outlasted the Czechs in qualifying - remember what the Czechs did to us four years ago. We have to be very sharp to win today, this will not be easy (though I certainly wouldn't mind if it is!)

Key man for us is Dempsey. He has to find space and chances. We need the Fulham Dempsey to show up today.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 18, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Actually, in a shock move, Capello has opted to replace Robert Green with Alvin Greene...

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 18, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Amazing to me how American fans how so little faith in our side. Fire Bob Bradley anyone? Yeah we are favorites...get used to it...

Posted by: Shark21 | June 18, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Do the Irish have Freedom Fries now?

Posted by: Reignking | June 18, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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