USA coach Bob Bradley hailed his team’s fighting spirit after their 2-2 draw with Slovenia.
The US went into the halftime break 2-0 down, but rallied to keep their qualification hopes alive.
Bradley said: “I think this team has shown that it keeps fighting until the end and we have now had the experience of pushing games when we’re behind. It’s something we feel good about. It’s a credit to the mentality of the players and to the fact that they’re going to fight for 90 minutes every game.”
On his halftime team talk, Bradley also remarked: “The starting point is to understand that there’s 45 minutes to go, and everybody needs to understand how we’re going to push the game, so right away we made two changes.
“Early in the game we said it would be a tactical game, so things are still in the process of being sorted out. As is often the case, a play can tip the scale one way or another. They were able to find Birsa coming inside, which is something he does well that we know about, and he hit a great shot.
“So at that point we were trying to push back into the game. I thought as the half went on we were able to start to get some good attacking movements, there was one right before that second goal that you felt was going to be the equalizer at that point. At the end of the half they were able to put a very good play together where we’re caught a little bit in the back, but nonetheless give credit to them for a well executed play and finish.”