World Cup Group Competition: Slovenia’s Roster

File photo of Russia's Alexander Anyukov fighting for the ball with Slovenia's Novakovic during their 2010 World Cup European qualifying playoff in Moscow

In our last examination of USA’s Group C opponents, we attempt to give an overview of Slovenia’s provisional roster. If you missed the first two, here’s the info on England and Algeria’s squads.

Roster

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

Defenders: Bojan Jokic (Chievo Verona), Marko Suler (Ghent), Bostjan Cesar (Grenoble), Branko Ilic (Lokomotiv Moscow), Matej Mavric (Koblenz), Dejan Kelhar (Cercle Brugge), Elvedin Dzinic (Maribor), Miso Brecko (Cologne), Suad Filekovic (Maribor).

Midfielders: Andraz Kirm (Wisla Krakow), Andrej Komac (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Rene Krhin (Inter Milan), Mirnes Sisic (Giannina), Darjan Matic (Rapid Bucharest), Dalibor Stevanovic (Vitesse Arnhem), Robert Koren (West Bromwich Albion), Aleksander Radosavljevic (Larissa), Valter Birsa (Auxerre).

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

Players to Watch

Samir Handanovic – The starting goalkeeper for Udinese, Handanovic might be the 2nd best goalkeeper in Group C (behind Tim Howard). He’s been pegged for a move to a bigger club and will look to increase his chances with a fine World Cup.

Robert Koren – Slovenia’s captain is the linchpin in attack. Koren may not be particularly fast, but the US center midfielders will need to quickly cut off his passing lanes or Koren will pick apart the US defense.

Rene Krhin – Only 19, Krhin will be the future star of Slovenia’s squad and could even make a big impact this summer. The midfielder will attempt to replicate Landon Donovan’s success in the 2002 World Cup, when the precocious Donovan was named Young Player of the Tournament.

Zlatko Dedic and Milivoje Novakovic – Up top, the large Novakovic is paired with the younger and faster Dedic, creating a potent combination. Both strikers play in Germany’s Bundesliga and are capable of scoring on their day.

Formation

Weaknesses

Aside from Koren, Slovenia lacks an established creative player. Michael Bradley and his center midfield partner could curb Slovenia’s attack by limiting Koren’s passing opportunities. However, if Krhin hits his stride in the tournament, the squad would look a lot different, which makes it imperative to clamp down on the youngster as soon as he enters the match.

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