IRENE, South Africa — Tim Howard considered Andrej Komac's prediction of victory for Slovenia and chuckled.
"I think talk is cheap," the U.S. goalkeeper said Wednesday, a day after Komac said his team would win Friday.
"He's got to stand toe to toe. And they've got to stand toe to toe with us for 90 minutes. And if he's still standing, then I'll take my hat off to him. But a lot of boxers talk, too, and they're looking up at the lights."
D Oguchi Onyewu was amused by Komac.
"It's definitely a premature comment to make," he said. "I don't think a U.S. player would make a comment like that."
Slovenia has a population of just more than 2 million and is the third-smallest nation to play at a World Cup (larger than Trinidad and Tobago, and Northern Ireland). It beat Algeria in its opener. So, Howard said, Komac's statement was understandable given how far Slovenia has come.
"We know that they're probably feeling confident after getting the three points," he said, "and rightfully so."
Brotherly love: Honduras will be the first country to have three brothers on a team after M Jerry Palacios replaced Julio Cesar de Leon, out with a right leg injury. Wilson, who played Wednesday against Chile, and Johnny also are midfielders. A fourth brother, Edwin Rene, played for the under-23 world team but died in 2007. Kidnappers killed him even after the family paid a $500,000 ransom.
Round 2: The first spot in the Round of 16 can be clinched today. The winner of South Korea-Argentina moves on if Greece-Nigeria ends in a tie.
England: M Gareth Barry will play Friday against Algeria. He has been out since May 5 with damaged ligaments in his right ankle.
France: FIFA denied a request to replace G Cedric Carrasso, who tore his left hamstring in practice Monday. Once the tournament has started, players can only be replaced in special cases.
Italy: An MRI exam on Gianluigi Buffon, considered one of the top keepers in the world, revealed a herniated disc. The team did not give a return date for Buffon, who left in the first half Monday against Paraguay.
Portugal: Star M Deco denied any friction with coach Carlos Queiroz. After Tuesday's 0-0 tie with Ivory Coast, Deco called Queiroz's tactics and substitutions "strange" and "not as good as they might have been." A day later, he said the comments came "in the heat of the moment" and had not intended to question Queiroz's leadership.