Slovenia World Cup Team Preview
Odds to Win World Cup: +20000
Rookies of the World Cup, Slovenia enter this tournament just trying to gain some experience for future years. No one has any real expectations of this club, and even salvaging a point or two from three matches would be considered a legitimate triumph.
How They Got Here: As one of the many shocking results in the European qualifying zone, Slovenia used a home-and-home victory against the Russians to qualify for the World Cup. The Slovenians used a stifling defense which allowed just four goals in the qualifying stages to make it to the playoff round with Russia. Away goals made the difference, as the 2-2 final score was defined by a 2-1 defeat in Moscow and sealed with a 1-0 win back in Maribor.
Player to Watch: There isn't a ton of major European or international experience on this squad, but Germany's FC Cologne is the home for F Milivoje Novakovic, who scored five times in qualifying. He has made 37 appearances for his country and scored 14 goals in the process. FC Cologne has also been a great home for this striker since 2006, has he has 51 goals in 108 CAPS.
Previous World Cup Experience: This is the first time that the Slovenians have ever qualified for the World Cup. One must remember though, that this is a country that only gained its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. This was only Slovenia's second attempt at qualifying for the grandest soccer tournament of them all.
Key to Advancing: Slovenia knows that it doesn't have the horses to figure out how to advance out of Group C, so if the feat is going to get pulled off, it is going to take an exemplary effort from GK Samir Handanovic to happen. Handanovic may be one of the hottest goalies in the world coming into this World Cup with his great efforts in qualifying under his belt. Still, facing the likes of England and the United States is nothing like what he saw against most of his qualifying opponents in Europe.
Predictions: The only hope for Slovenia is to grab three points from Algeria in the opening round. If that doesn't happen, it is really doomed. Even a draw isn't good enough unless there is an upset of epic proportions coming on the card. Still, Slovenia should be proud of its effort just to make it to South Africa, and it should enjoy the fact that it will get to play three matches in front of a national stage, even though getting zero points from those three affairs seems like a legitimate possibility.
Round 1 Schedule
Algeria vs. Slovenia (June 13th, 7:30 AM ET, Polokwane)
Slovenia vs. United States (June 18th, 10:00 AM ET, Johannesburg)
Slovenia vs. England (June 23rd, 10:00 AM ET, Nelson Mandela Bay)
All Odds for 2010 World Cup from Brobury Sports
|Odds to Win Group C|
United States +420
Odds to Advance Group C
United States -175
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