GENERIC USER - Monday, May 17, 2010
On June 18th US soccer fans will become much more familiar with the relatively unknown Slovenian national team that knocked off favored Russia to advance to their first World Cup since 2002.
Since splitting from the Yugoslavian national team in 1991, Slovenia's success on the world stage has been fairly limited, however their upset of Russia in a two-leg playoff to earn a spot in South Africa sent a message to the rest of Group C that earning a result against head coach Matjaž Kek's squad will be no easy task.
Like the US, Slovenia has released a provisional roster of 30 players which will be cut down by seven in the upcoming weeks.
Three players from Italy's Serie A make the list including the very intriguing 19 year old Rene Krhin who is a rising star for UEFA Champions League finalists Inter Milan.
Milivoje Novakovič of German Bundesliga club FC Köln boasts the most goal-scoring prowess among the Slovenians with a total of 14.
But the backbone of the Slovenian team is midfielder Robert Koren who is known by English soccer enthusiasts for spending the last three years at West Bromwich Albion and helping the Baggies earn promotion to the Premiership this past season.
Manning the pipes will be 25 year old Samir Handanovic who has excelled in his time with Serie club Udinese.
Slovenia will kick off their 2010 World Cup campaign on June 12th when they face Algeria.
Handanovic, Samir Udinese (Italy)
Handanovic, Jasmin Mantova (Italy)
Seliga, Aleksander Sparta Rotterdam (Holland)
Koprivec, Jan Gallipoli (Italy)
Jokic, Bojan Chievo (Italy)
Suler, Marko Gent (Belgium)
Cesar, Bostjan Grenoble (France)
Ilic, Branko Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia)
Mavric-Rozic, Matej Koblenz (Germany)
Kelhar, Dejan Cercle Brugge (Belgium)
Dzinic, Elvedin Maribor (Slovenia)
Brecko, Miso FC Cologne (Germany)
Rajcevic, Aleksandar Koper (Slovenia)
ilekovic, Suad Maribor (Slovenia)
Kirm, Andraz Wisla Krakow (Poland)
Komac, Andre Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
Krhin, Rene Inter Milan (Italy)
Sisic, Mirnes Giannina (Greece)
Matic, Darjan Rapid Bucharest (Romania)
Vrsic, Dare Koper (Slovenia)
Stevanovic, Dalibor Vitesse Arnhem (Holland)
Koren, Robert West Bromwich Albion (England)
Radosavljevic, Aleksander Larissa (Greece)
Birsa, Valter Auxerre (France)
Novakovic, Milivoje FC Cologne (Germany)
Dedic, Zlatko Bochum (Germany)
Ljubijankic, Zlatan Gent (Belgium)
Pecnik, Nejc Nacional (Portugal)
Burgic, Miran AIK Stockholm (Sweden)
Matavz, Tim FC Groningen (Holland)