JOHANNESBURG - The United States know a defeat by Slovenia on Friday will leave them with very little chance of making it out of Group C and captain Carlos Bocanegra said that stark reality is firmly in the players' minds.
"Obviously, a loss putting us out is something that's going to be in the back of our minds," he told a news conference on Thursday.
"We have to approach the game in an intelligent fashion, we need to be smart and not open ourselves up going for a win, just because a loss would put us out of the tournament," he added.
The U.S drew 1-1 with England in their opening game while Slovenia beat Algeria 1-0 and can clinch a place in the second round by beating the Americans.
Bocanegra said there was no danger of underestimating Algeria even if they do not have such big-name as England.
"We have some personal experience against the guys we're playing - you come up against them if you play in Germany, if you play in France," he noted.
"Just because they are not in the (English) Premier League, we're not going to take them any lighter just because maybe the rest of the world doesn't know their name."
Coach Bob Bradley, tight-lipped about his likely formation against Slovenia, said his team can cope with the tension.
"There have been some finals, some matches with the pressure on, where you must win and I think we have had good experiences as a group, we have learnt from important wins and from days when we have let games get us away from us."
One that got away was the Confederations Cup final, a dress rehearsal for the World Cup, almost a year ago when they lost 3-2 to Brazil in Johannesburg after being 2-0 ahead.
"They (Slovenia) are a very good team, (coach) Matjaz Kek has done a very good job, they are very well organised," added Bradley who named midfielder Robert Coren as their engine.
Slovenia conceded only four goals in 10 qualifiers, a total bettered only by Netherlands who played two matches less.
"Tactically they're very smart, their defensive record was outstanding in qualification and they have a good balance, good movement and mobility and some dangerous players - guys we have watched a lot," said Bradley.comments