Everything you need to know about Slovenia before Euro 2024
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Everything you need to know about Slovenia before Euro 2024

10/06/24 13:50

This week, Euro 2024 kicks off in Germany, starting four incredible weeks of football. Slovenia, traditionally footballing minnows, will be hoping to cause a few upsets in Group C and qualify for the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time in their history.

Euro Squad

There are not many names in Slovenia’s Euro squad that will be known to the majority of football fans. Of course, Captain Jan Oblak is generally considered as one of the best goalkeepers in world football over the last six or seven years, but he will not be enough to ensure that Slovenia can make it through their group.

In addition to Oblak, Slovenian head coach Matjaž Kek has also called up a 36-year-old Josip Illičić and RB Leipzig forward Benjamin Šeško. Illičić’s resurgence into international football after struggling with depression between 2020 and 2022 has been incredible. After leaving Atalanta, where he really made a name for himself, Illičić now plays in Slovenia for Maribor.

Šeško is at the opposite end of his career to Illičić, at just 21 years old. The RB Leipzig man, who managed 14 goals this season, looks as if he will be on the move this summer and so the German team will be hoping that he manages to impress on the international stage so that they can get more money out of those looking to secure his signature. Šeško’s 11 international goals has him in eighth place for the country’s all-time top scorer.

Group and Schedule

Slovenia are in Group C along with England, Serbia and Denmark. England may be the favourites in this group, but Slovenia could definitely surprise a few teams and push for second, or one of the best third placed teams.

Slovenia begin their campaign against Denmark on 16th June before facing Serbia on 20th and England on 25th. All of their games are available to watch in the UK on ITV and BBC.

Players to Watch

Šeško is definitely the danger man for Slovenia. The young striker is attracting interest from Arsenal and Tottenham after a stellar season in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig. However he has gone three games for the national team without a goal, including a 2-0 win against Portugal.

Sandi Lovrić is another player to look out for. The 26-year-old midfielder plays in the Serie A with Udinese and has made 35 appearances for the national team since 2020. While he hasn’t had the most impressive season this year, Lovrić’s 2022/23 was good, contributing to 11 league goals for an Udinese side that finished in mid-table.

How did they fare in Euro 2020?

Slovenia did not qualify for Euro 2020 after finishing fourth in their qualifying group, behind Poland, Austria and North Macedonia. The qualifiers weren’t disastrous for Slovenia and even included a 2-0 win over Poland however they could not do enough to reach the main tournament.

The only other European Championships that Slovenia have qualified for was Euro 2000, where they finished bottom of their group on two points.

How far will Slovenia go this time?

While it may be asking a lot of Slovenia for them to make it out of the group stage, I think that they could do so this time around. They come into this tournament having lost just one game out of the last 12, winning 10 of them.

This year alone they have recorded wins against Portugal and USA, keeping two clean sheets in the process.

I think that they will finish the Group Stage in third, but still manage to qualify for the Round of 16 stage for the first time in their history.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Jake Martin

Writer

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