• Thursday, 13 May 2010

    Kek keeps the faith

    Slovenia boss Matjaz Kek has kept faith with the core of the squad which qualified for just their second World Cup finals. That means no late call-up for Newcastle youngster Harris Vuckic and former skipper Klemen Lavric.

    It's no surprise that the squad is made up from players from all corners of the European footballing world and beyond. The German Bundesliga supplies the main source of goals, Bochum's Zlatko Dedic got the crucial goal which saw them past Russia in the play-offs and Milivoje Novakovic of Cologne will partner him. Tim Matavz, currently with Groningen in the Netherlands, keeps that pair on their toes.

    Robert Koren won promotion to the Premier League in England with West Brom and spearheads the midfield threat while the defence is led by Bostjan Cesar who was relegated from the top flight in France with Grenoble, but shone in a very poor side.

    Given that they were the only side to emerge as non-seeds from the rigged play-offs in UEFA qualifying, Slovenia are the side Euroballs will be backing in South Africa and we've got the betting slip in the office desk drawer to prove it.

    The squad in full:

    Goalkeepers: Samir Handanovic (Udinese, Italy), Jasmin Handanovic (Mantova, Italy), Aleksander Seliga (Sparta Rotterdam, Netherlands), Jan Koprivec (Udinese, Italy)

    Defenders: Bojan Jokic (Chievo, Italy), Marko Suler (Gent, Belgium), Bostjan Cesar (Grenoble, France), Branko Ilic (FC Moscow, Russia), Matej Mavric-Rozic (Koblenz, Germany), Dejan Kelhar (Cercle Brugge, Belgium), Elvedin Dzinic (Maribor, Slovenia), Miso Brecko (Cologne, Germany), Aleksandar Rajcevic (Koper, Slovenia), Suad Filekovic (Maribor, Slovenia)

    Midfielders: Andraz Kirm (Wisła Krakow, Poland), Andrej Komac (Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Israel), Rene Krhin (Internazionale, Italy), Mirnes Sisic (Giannina, Greece), Darjan Matic (Rapid Bucharest, Romania), Dare Vrsic (Koper, Slovenia), Dalibor Stevanovic (Vitesse Arnhem, Netherlands), Robert Koren (West Brom, England), Aleksander Radosavljevic (Larissa, Greece), Valter Birsa (Auxerre, France)

    Forwards: Milivoje Novakovic (Cologne, Germany), Zlatko Dedic (Bochum, Germany), Zlatan Ljubijankic (Gent, Belgium), Nejc Pecnik (Nacional, Portugal), Miran Burgic (AIK Solna, Sweden), Tim Matavz (FC Groningen, Netherlands).

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