Slovenia Set to Prove Tough Assignment For England at World Cup

England will be overwhelming favourites to win their final group match against Slovenia at the World Cup, or at the very least, do what they need to do to qualify for last 16 if they haven’t already done so. However, Slovenia could themselves come into the match, in theory at least, with every motivation to win or do enough themselves to qualify for the last 16 in what looks like a battle between them and the USA for the runner up spot.

Slovenia have only been going as an International soccer entity since the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1992. In that time they have established themselves as a side, with great touch and determination and as they proved in their European Group Play-Off against Russia, that they are a very capable outfit and will be a dangerous adversary.

They are currently ranked at number 23 in the FIFA World rankings, which is no mean feat for a team from a country with a population of little more than 2 million.

Like most Eastern European countries, their domestic league has suffered due to their top players being induced to play in the more lucrative leagues, indeed, in the last squad that was named in March 2010, there was not one domestic league player named.

There is one player that plays his football in England, who is Slovenian captain, Robert Koren, who plays for West Bromwich Albion, who have just been promoted to the Premier League. Koren has won 45 caps for his country and has scored four goals.

The main goal threat to England however comes from striker, Milovoje Novakovic, who has netted 14 times in 37 Internationals. Novakovic plays for FC Koln in the Bundesliga and has scored a very impressive 51 goals in just 108 appearances for the German club. He is a huge, strong man standing 6’4″ and will be a very difficult opponent for either John Terry or Rio Ferdinand in the heart of England’s defence.

Other players to note are the young and highly regarded midfielder, Rene Krhin, a 19 year old who has been nurtured by Jose Mourinho at the Inter Milan Academy for the last three years and is on the threshold of becoming a first team regular. He is a clever player, with plenty of skill and will be out to make a name for himself in South Africa.

Overall the Slovenian team is made up of solid if not spectacular players in their mid to late 20s, who are at prime fitness and have improved quite significantly over the last two years of qualification as a team.

Although they did not qualify for the 2006 World Cup, they were the only team to beat the eventual champions, Italy in the tournament, bearing them 2-1 in their European qualifying Group. They did make it to Korea/Japan in 2002 after qualifying from their European Group undefeated after 12 games. Sadly that consistency disappeared when the tournament started in earnest being dumped after failing to win a single point in the Group stages.

Slovenia is managed by Matjaz Kek, who has been at the helm for the last three years. Kek was a highly respected player, who was known for his ‘never say die’ spirit and his profound footballing knowledge.

It has come as no surprise to the soccer fraternity in Slovenia that Kek has guided the team to the World Cup Finals and it came as no surprise to Kek that he managed to overturn the Guus Hiddinck managed Russia team in the final World Cup qualifying place at the end of 2009.

England Beware!!!!

Author Bio: England match previews including England v Slovenia Odds, team news and more. Also check out the authors guide to England World Cup odds ahead of Fabio Capello’s side’s tilt at World Cup glory in South Africa.

Category: Sports
Keywords: england, slovenia, england v slovenia, world cup, team, squad, south africa

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