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Preparing For the World Cup: Slovenia Scouting Report

Posted on May 06, 2010 by Thomas Rooney

Robert Koren will lead the Slovenia team in the World Cup.

England was happy with their World Cup draw largely due to being handed Slovenia from pot four which contained the European teams. They could have got harder opposition from pot two – Mexico perhaps – and pot three – Ivory Coast – but avoiding France, Portugal and various other tough European opponents was a major bonus.

Complacency is not known to be one of Fabio Capello’s traits and the Italian will not be fooled into taking Slovenia lightly. Matjaz Kek’s outfit beat Poland and Czech Republic to second place in qualification group three, narrowly missing out on automatic progression behind Slovakia, who they beat home and away. Only Netherlands conceded fewer goals than Slovenia in the UEFA region.

Russia were successfully negotiated in a dramatic play-off that saw Slovenia recover from an early two-goal deficit in Moscow, proving the durability and determination exhibited in the group stage can be drawn upon in big games. The best betting site odds might suggest Solvenia are outsiders, but they could manage to get through to the second round.

Slovenia were unlucky to lose 2-1 to England at Wembley last year, a match in which they frustrated the hosts in for long periods. That was the only previous meeting between the teams and Kek’s men will be particularly fired up against the Three Lions – they were livid about Wayne Rooney’s antics in winning a dubious penalty in that friendly.

Slovenia have no big names, although West Bromwich Albion’s creative midfielder Robert Koren is well-known to English fans. Udinese goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, Cologne striker Milivoje Novakovic and Auxerre winger Valter Birsa are players to watch, reflecting a squad that is full of players from major European leagues.

England might well have secured a second round berth by the time they face Slovenia in Port Elizabeth on June 23rd and Capello will certainly not want to go into the final match needing a win to secure top place, as Slovenia are more than capable of frustrating the Three Lions with a draw and anyone with a betting system should bear this in mind.

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