U.S. coach Bob Bradley maintains his team was denied a 3-2 World Cup victory over Slovenia when a goal was disallowed by referee Koman Coulibaly yesterday.
“It was a good goal,” the coach told reporters today. “The only things that could be called are penalty kicks for us. You can speculate about which guy and everything. I think it’s a waste of time. There was nothing there. It was a good goal.”
Having drawn level after going in 2-0 down at halftime, substitute Maurice Edu’s 86th minute strike appeared to have given the U.S. the lead, only for Coulibaly to disallow it. The Americans surrounded the Mali referee, demanding an explanation, and said he didn’t give one.
The U.S., ranked 14th by soccer’s ruling body, hasn’t asked FIFA for an explanation of Coulibaly’s call and in any event on-field decisions aren’t reviewable. The team will move on to prepare for the last game of the round with Algeria, which tied England 0-0 last night.
The ties in Group C mean all the squads have a chance to qualify on June 23, when England will play Slovenia, which leads the group with 4 points. England and the U.S. are tied on 2 points, and Algeria has 1.
“All the teams have proved they can play with one another,” U.S. defender Jay DeMerit said at a press conference. “A lot of times it comes down to single moments, and it will come down to what team takes those moments, those opportunities, when they get them.”
The U.S. had given up goals to Slovenia’s Valter Birsa and Zlatan Ljubijankic in the first half yesterday. A win for 25th- ranked Slovenia, with a population of just 2 million, would have made them the first country to progress to the tournament’s knock-out stages and would have meant the U.S. was all but eliminated from the event.
But a goal three minutes into the second half from Landon Donovan was followed by one from Michael Bradley, the coach’s son to tie the match at 2-2.
With England and the U.S. tied going into the last match, there’s a possibility that they could still be even on the last day with the same number of points and goals. It could go to a tiebreaker of drawing of lots to decide which team advances.
“I don’t think anyone wants that,” DeMerit said. “As players, as a team and the fans, it shouldn’t come down to things like that. There’s a lot of soccer to be played between all four teams. We need to make sure we take care of things on our end and make sure it doesn’t come down to things like that.”