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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Group C - Slovenia

Nickname – Zmajceki (Dragons)

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING

Slovenia not having the easiest group filled with Poland, Slovakia and Czech Republic got an honourable 2nd place with 6 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses and +16 Goal Average. They had to face a harder task within the Playoff playing against great opposition of Russia that won 2-1 on the first leg just to lose to Slovenia 1-0 and being thrown out of the World Cup at expense of Slovenia that felt in love with Zlatko Dedic, the scorer of the winning blessed goal.

H2H

Jun 13 Polokwane Algeria v Slovenia - Never Played.

The last time Slovenia faced an African squad was Ivory Coast in 2006 and they lost 3-0.

It’s holiday break for Algeria in this World Cup. Enjoying the resorts it is mostly what they can do. Last time they won against a European nation was in 1989 and it was against Malta, 0-1.

Jun 18 Johannesburg Slovenia v United States - Never Played.

Jun 23 Pt Elizabeth Slovenia v England - England played once against Slovenia having won for the narrowest margin of 2-1. World cup decisions are in favor of the Capello’s side.

Goalkeepers: Samir Handanovic (Udinese), Jasmin Handanovic (Mantova), Aleksander Seliga (Sparta Rotterdam)

Defenders: Miso Brecko (FC Cologne), Bostjan Cesar (Grenoble), Branko Ilic (Lokomotiv Moscow), Matej Mavric-Rozic (Koblenz), Bojan Jokic (Chievo), Marko Suler (Ghent), Suad Filekovic (NK Maribor), Elvedin Dzinic (NK Maribor)

Midfielders: Andraz Kirm (Wisla Krakow), Robert Koren (Unattached), Valter Birsa (AJ Auxerre), Andrej Komac (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Dalibor Stevanovic (Vitesse Arnhem), Aleksander Radosavljevic (Larissa), Rene Krhin (Inter Milan)

Strikers: Milivoje Novakovic (FC Cologne), Zlatko Dedic (VfL Bochum), Zlatan Ljubijankic (Ghent), Nejc Pecnik (Nacional Funchal), Tim Matavz (Groningen).

FORMATION

Matjaz Kek rotates from the 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 depending on the opponent they undertake and it is also about the conjuncture. They rely on their pace and short-passing game to upset the opponents before they go and play often on the break as they regularly do. S. Handanovic; Bostjan Ceasar, Jokic, Suler, Brecko; Radosavljevic, Koren, Birsa, Andraz Kirm; Dedic & Novakovic.

BEST PLAYERS

Slovenia is much better known for their cohesive 11 rather than specified individuals.

Still there are a couple of players that emerge with more clairvoyance:

Samir Handanovic’s height is 6’5”. No wonder he is unbeatable in aerial situations. And if anyone thought he would be a slow GK, forget that idea, because is agility is another plus he has developed. Add one more to the list - expertise in terms of penalty-shootout. From aerial ability to rushing out class performance among other characteristics has allured this Udinese’s goalkeeper the interest of Champions League football’s clubs such as Milan, Tottenham, Bayern Munich and Man Utd.

Robert Koren’s West Brom midfielder is the playmaker of Slovenian squad. He is the source to Matjaz Kek’s formation by organizing, temporizing and creating different paths to offensive gameplay. This season performance granted him 36 appearances with 10 goals and 3 assists.

Milivoje Novakovic’s Cologne striker uses his body build and intelligence to be on top of every season’s stats regarding goal scoring. Top scorer in 2006 in Bulgaria; was 2nd in 2007’s debut season in Germany and this year got 16 goals to his name. Even though his 31 years old take him to the twilight of his career, this World Cup could help him to get a final major contract elsewhere.

SURPRISE

The surprise omissions are Haris Vuckic from recently promoted to the Premier League’s Newcastle and former Slovenian’s captain Lavric.

STATEMENTS

“For a small country like ours, it’s an incredible achievement to qualify for a World Cup. Before this qualification series started, nobody was giving this young team a hope. But now, the players and the whole country are proud of our success. We want to show that, small as we are, we can compete with the best,” Milivoje Novakovic, Slovenia striker.

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- Matjaz Kek –

Career made of 31 matches with 39% Win, 16% Draw, 45% Loss, GS 1,26 GA 1

SWOT ANALYSIS

Strength – Mostly we have been speaking highly about the squad’s attack, here’s a nation that you can’t disregard their defensive performance. They were the best defensive record in the qualifying stages conceding 4 goals out of 10 matches for placing them ahead of Spain and England as the major defensive backline.

Weaknesses – Other than Koren and Birsa they don’t seem to have really quality players to populate the midfield. Adding further you have to place the concern that they have by playing short-pass game instead of playing on a more direct perspective, so that can be costly due to the squad that represent Slovenia.

Opportunities – Playing the first game against Algeria while USA plays versus England. Moral levels in determine the performance and winner in the match that will oppose Slovenia-USA.

If they advance to the second round they can take advantage of their prolific goalkeeper Samir Handanovic. By not playing focused on an attacking performance and rather more retain the ball, if they take matches to penalties they could rely on their shot-stopper because he is one of the best worldwide when it comes down to stop penalty-kicks.

Threats – The second game against USA will dictate their progress in this upcoming World Cup especially because the 2nd place might be settled through goal difference.

FIFA WORLD RANKINGS

Slovenia occupies the 23th on the world ranking ahead of Switzerland and Ivory Coast and behind Australia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uruguay and Mexico.

ACHIEVEMENTS

CASTROL INDEX

LATEST 10 MATCHES

Slovenia 0 0 Czech Republic

N. Ireland 1 0 Slovenia

Slovenia 5 0 San Marino

England 2 1 Slovenia

Slovenia 3 0 Poland

Slovakia 0 2 Slovenia

San Marino 0 3 Slovenia

Russia 2 1 Slovenia

Slovenia 1 0 Russia

Slovenia 4 1 Qatar

Slovenia 3 0 New Zealand


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