Slovenia – World Cup Preview
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Slovenia World Cup Preview
There’s been a change in fortunes lately in Slovenia, to get to the World Cup they fended off some imposing competition. After landing second place in a terse group containing Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Northern Ireland the Slovenians had to face Gus Hiddink’s Russia in a play-off.
Fortunately they scraped through the two leg fixture by virtue of an away goal in Moscow. Head coach Matjaz Kek probably should be the focal point for praise after shaking up the team, its formation and instilling a drilled sense of order into the ranks.
Though they were lucky to get to the finals Slovenia are probably not expecting much more. They made the tournament back in 2002 and endured somewhat of a torrid time. If they can hold it together they won’t be embarrassed again, and besides, the team that’s starting now is far removed from the team of the Korea/Japan tournament.
Leading from the ground will be midfielder Robert Koren who recently found himself without a club after West Brom let him go. If he can command the young team around him and keep mistakes in check Slovenia may cope adequately against Group C’s big boys. He has back up too in the shape of Samir Handanovic who’s hotly tipped to find a bigger club than current employer Udinese.
Protecting the keeper will be the task of Bostjan Ceser who is certainly big enough to try, he’ll be aided by Miso Brecko and Marko Suler who ply their trades at Koln and Gent respectively.
Klemen Lavric and Milivoje Novakovic, though both are not quite putting holes in opposition nets at the moment will be hoping to hit form come the 13th June when they line up against an Algeria side they will be hoping to beat.