Donovan thinks the best is yet to come for U.S.

IRENE, South Africa — Landon Donovan thinks the best is yet to come for the U.S. soccer team.

Yes, 2006 was a disappointment and even the quarterfinal finish in 2002 wasn't completely satisfying.

"The two World Cups I'd been a part of, we hadn't strung together three consecutive good results and good performances," he said Monday. "I think this team has the experience and the ability to do that, and we'll find out on Wednesday night."

By beating Algeria, the Americans would reach the group phase for the first time in eight years. Even with a draw against the Desert Foxes, the U.S. could advance as long as England fails to beat Slovenia and doesn't gain a point and wipe out the American advantage in goals scored.

Algeria, coming off a 1-0 loss to Slovenia and a 0-0 tie with the English, can advance only with a victory. That likely means wide-open play.

"Their approach to the game would likely be an aggressive approach to try to get a goal and win the game," Donovan said. "A lot of our guys play with or have played with or against their players. As a team, collectively, they can be unpredictable and on their day they are a very, very good team."

On the first day of winter in South Africa, the U.S. held its last practice at Pilditch Stadium before the match. Because FIFA wants to preserve the field at Loftus Versfeld, the site of the match, today's training was moved to Eersterust Stadium in Pretoria. In many ways, the Americans know Algeria much better than Slovenia.

Center back Madjid Bougherra is a teammate of DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu on the Glasgow Rangers; midfielder Karim Matmour plays alongside Michael Bradley on Borussia Moenchengladbach; midfielder Adlane Guedioura plays on Wolverhampton with Marcus Hahnemann; midfielder Riad Boudebouz is at Sochaux with injured American forward Charlie Davies; and defender Nadir Belhadj and midfielder Hassen Yebda play for Portsmouth, where they regularly face the U.S. Premier League contingent.

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