It’s often said that it is the performance and not the result that matters in World Cup warm-up games. But that truism will be wearing thin with USA fans after their side suffered a sixth defeat in seven games by losing 4-2 at home to the Czech Republic.
USA boss Bob Bradley sent out a much-changed side for the match, without the likes of Tim Howard, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, in an effort to test all his options, but will today name his final 23-man squad having seen the team win only once since last July.
Sandwiching a solitary 2-1 win over El Salvador are losses to Holland, Honduras, Denmark, Slovakia and a 5-0 thumping to Mexico, although that was with a second-string XI.
Such is the USA’s apparent deterioration since coming runner-up at last summer’s Confederations Cup, that their World Cup Group C rivals for second place will be heading to South Africa with a renewed sense of belief.
Out of the two, Slovenia have the better form heading into the tournament with a run of five wins out of six under their belts, including against Russia in their play-off second leg and away to Slovakia.
Algeria meanwhile, lost 3-0 at home to Serbia in March, following an African Cup of Nations tournament that saw them defeat the Ivory Coast but lose to Egypt and Nigeria.
If you fancy either country to surpass the faltering USA and progress from the group, then betting on a subsequent round-of-16 elimination looks tempting. Such a scenario is 13/5 for Slovenia, and 9/2 for Algeria. A group stage exit for the USA at 6/5 also offers value.