Photo credit: AP | Algerian soccer fans react in France after Algeria defeated Egypt in a World Cup 2010 qualifying playoff soccer match. (Nov. 18, 2009)
While it's true that all the hype surrounds the United States' opening game against England, the result could be moot if it falters in the next two games. Here's a quick look at the preliminary rosters for Algeria and Slovenia:
Goalkeepers: Lounes Gaouaoui (ASO Chlef), Fawzi Chaouchi (ES Setif), Mohamed Liamine Zemamouche (MC Alger), M'bohi Rais Ouhed (Slava Sofia)
Defenders: Abdelkader Laifaoui (ES Setif), Madjid Bougherra (Rangers), Carl Medjani (Ajaccio), Rafik Halliche (Nacional Madeira), Anther Yahia (Bochum), Habib Belaid (Boulogne), Nadir Belhadj (Portsmouth), Djamel Mesbah (Lecce)
Midfielders: Hassen Yebda (Portsmouth), Medhi Lacen (Racing Santander), Yazid Mansouri (Lorient), Adlane Guedioura (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Riad Boudebouz (Sochaux), Djamel Abdoun (Nantes), Fouad Kadir (Valenciennes), Mourad Meghni (Lazio), Karim
Forwards: Abdelkader Ghezzal (Siena), Rafik Djebbour (AEK), Rafik Saifi (Istres)
NOTES: Yazid Mansouri will captain the squad, which last qualified for the World Cup in 1986 ... The team begins a two-week training camp Thursday in Switzerland ... Algeria finished fourth at the 2010 African Cup of Nations tournament, upsetting the Ivory coast in the quarterfinals ... Four players play with Americans on their club teams: Madjid Bougherra (Rangers with Maurice Edu and DaMarcus Beasley), Adlane Guedioura (Wolverhampton with Marcus Hahnemann), Karim Matmour (Borussia Moenchengladbach with Michael Bradley) and Riad Boudebouz (Sochaux with Charlie Davies).
Goalkeepers: Samir Handanovic (Udinese), Jasmin Handanovic (Mantova), Aleksander Seliga (Sparta Rotterdam), Jan Koprivec (Maribor).
Defenders: Bojan Jokic (Chievo Verona), Marko Suler (Ghent), Bostjan Cesar (Grenoble), Branko Ilic (Lokomotiv Moscow), Matej Mavric (Koblenz), Dejan Kelhar (Cercle Brugge), Elvedin Dzinic (Maribor), Miso Brecko (Cologne), Aleksandar Rajcevic (Koper), Suad Filekovic (Maribor).
Midfielders: Andraz Kirm (Wisla Krakow), Andrej Komac (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Rene Krhin (Inter Milan), Mirnes Sisic (Giannina), Darjan Matic (Rapid Bucharest), Dare Vrsic (Koper), Dalibor Stevanovic (Vitesse Arnhem), Robert Koren (West Bromwich Albion), Aleksander Radosavljevic (Larissa), Valter Birsa (Auxerre).
Forwards: Milivoje Novakovic (Cologne), Zlatko Dedic (VfL Bochum), Zlatan Ljubijankic (Ghent), Nejc Pecnik (Nacional), Miran Burgic (AIK Solna), Tim Matavz (Groningen).
NOTES: Slovenia is the smallest country in the World Cup. They qualified by shocking Russia -- a rather large country -- in a two-leg playoff ... Inter Milan's Ren Krhin, wo will turn 20 later this month, is the youngest player in the squad ... Slovenia made its first World Cup in 2002. The "Green Dragons" finished 0-3 with losses to Spain, Paraguay and South Africa.