That was one of the most nervy 90 minutes of my life! We won, although one could argue that it wasn't exactly a deserved win. But, in the end, result is what counts, and Slovenia now tops Group C!
Despite the victory, it's worth pointing out that this wasn't one of our better performances. Actually it was really bad. And I think Algeria could have also played better. There were lots of mistakes on both sides, and no team could actually build up a play. Our passes went into the legs of Algerians, theirs went off the playing ground. And the goal itself was an error too: Chaouchi should have kept Koren's tame shot out easily.
Our bad play was just a result of the big occasion. The players let the occasion get to them, and today we have seen some things that we usually don't with our players. Å uler almost gifted Ziani with a clear shot on goal, Koren lost possession far too many times, DediÄ didn't live up to his promise, NovakoviÄ was cut off from the rest of the team for most of the match, JokiÄ didn't advance upfield (but he should) ... But there were good things too. BreÄko played well on the right, Birsa was influential and had one good shot, and above all else, HandanoviÄ was there again to stay calm in the nervy moments and by doing that, calm down the other players. He got another clean sheet and Slovenia's defence still looks good enough.
There were not many opportunities in this match, namely just one real, other than the goal. Rafik Halliche couldn't direct his header into the net in what was the best Algerian chance on the day. Valter Birsa tried some shots from distance, but only once did Chaouchi have to react.
Algerians were somewhat better in the first half, and I even got afraid that we might lose this match. But Slovenia gradually came back into the game, and in the end, we could say that the two teams were equal in this match. Ghezzal received a red card with 17 minutes to go, and it was completely foolish and pointless. He got a yellow card as soon as he walked onto the pitch for shirt tugging, and then tried to control a cross with his arm 15 minutes later.
So, in short, tight and uneventful match (unbelieveably boring for neutral fans, as I heard), in which the two teams cancelled out each other. But Slovenia can, and will play better in the next matches. So I think the English and the Americans shouldn't just talk about getting the three points against attackingly incompetent sides just yet. Underestimation is one of the biggest mistakes in football, although I believe that Capello and Bradley already know that. But I'm not sure that their players and, most of all, their fans do.
In the end, the result is what counts, and today we shall celebrate this big victory in Polokwane! Indeed, it was a lucky victory, and there are tougher matches ahead, but I remain positive and optimistic and believe that we can progress from our group.
Algeria 0 - 1 Slovenia
73' red card: Ghezzal
1. SVN.......1 - 1 - 0 - 0......1:0.......3
2. USA.......1 - 0 - 1 - 0......1:1.......1
3. ENG.......1 - 0 - 1 - 0......1:1.......1
4. ALG........1 - 0 - 0 - 1......0:1......0