With its next match against Slovenia set for Friday, the U.S. soccer team is guardedly optimistic that injured goalkeeper Tim Howard will be in shape to take the field. Howard, who was possibly left with fractured ribs when forward Emile Heskey slid into him halfway through Saturday's tied match against England, is set to undergo further medical evaluation on Monday, but U.S. coach Bob Bradley has high hopes. "When you see the way Timmy handled himself after the collision, you'd certainly expect he will be on the field again." Back in the states, interest in the U.S. team and its match against England has caused World Cup ratings to spike, nearly doubling its audience since four years ago. Almost 13 million Americans watched Howard and the U.S. battle England to a draw. In fact, managers on both sides of the Atlantic are girding themselves for a loss in productivity as a result of the World Cup: One survey put productivity losses in the U.K. at $1.45 billion. Still, the festivities are inspiring some employers to give their workers a break. Asda, the British branch of Walmart, has allowed its employees to take a unpaid two-week "Safari Sabbatical" if they wish to travel to South Africa for the games.
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