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Komac: 'We are going to win this match'

June 15, 2010
Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG -- Andrej Komac probably never has heard of Joe Namath, even though he sure can imitate the Hall of Fame quarterback.

The Slovenia midfielder is so confident about the tiny country's chances against the United States in their World Cup match on Friday that he guaranteed victory.

"We are going to win this match," Komac said after practice Tuesday.

He added there's "a good feeling" on the squad after Slovenia beat Algeria 1-0 to claim its first World Cup victory and the top spot in Group C. Komac came on as a substitute in the final minutes.

The U.S. and England have one point each after their 1-1 draw.

With a population of just more than 2 million, Slovenia is the smallest nation in the World Cup -- about the size of Houston. But its national team has upset bigger rivals before. It finished second in its qualifying group ahead of the Czech Republic and Poland, then stunned Russia in a two-match playoff to enter its second World Cup.

Slovenia already is doing better than in 2002, when it lost all three group matches.

Captain Robert Koren secured the victory Sunday against Algeria with a long-range shot in the 79th minute that goalkeeper Fawzi Chaouchi misjudged and allowed to bounce into the net off his arm.

Komac doesn't expect the U.S. to underestimate his team, given what it's accomplished so far.

"We took three points in the first game. No one looks at us as small anymore," he said. "Now we can only go forward like this, because we are leading the group."

Slovenia produced few scoring chances against Algeria but fielded a strong defense that the North Africans couldn't break down. Komac said Slovenia is not going to change its strategy when it faces the Americans.

"We are playing our style of football, and we'll continue with that, and we can beat the U.S. with that style," he said.

Slovenia will advance to the second round if it beats the United States at Ellis Park.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press