The Slovenia Times

Slovenia get reality check in June slot of Euro 2024 qualifying


After winning the first two matches in the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying to top the Group H standings, Slovenia has had a less successful June slot in the qualifiers, falling to Finland 0:2 on the road and squeezing out a 1:1 draw at home against the group favourites Denmark.

After scoring victories against Kazakhstan and San Marino in March, Slovenia had to face Finland and Denmark in June in what was actually the first true test for the Slovenians and their ambition to qualify for the final tournament next year.

Playing without their superstar goalkeeper Jan Oblak, Slovenia conceded two goals to Finland in Helsinki on 16 June, with head coach Matjaž Kek admitting that his team had made too many mistakes on the defensive side, allowing the Finnish to score twice.

The opportunity to compensate for the loss came on 19 June at home in Stožice Stadium in Ljubljana in front of some 14,400 spectators, where the Slovenians played much better, squeezing out a 1:1 draw against the favoured Denmark.

Slovenia were the first to score, in the 25th minute, when Adam Gnezda Čerin found Andraž Šporar in the middle of the box, who gave Slovenia a 1:0 lead.

After scoring, the Slovenians withdrew back and waited for the Danes to make a mistake and launch a counter-attack, but this tactics did not work as Denmark equalised the score to 1:1 in the 42nd minute through Rasmus Hoejlund.

Kek said after the match that "it is understandable that you suffer in certain moments against such a tough opponent. We compensated this with fight and enthusiasm, and a lot of energy also came from the stands."

Finland and Kazakhstan now head the standings in Group H with nine points each, followed by Denmark and Slovenia (seven points each), who are ahead of Northern Ireland (3 points) and San Marino, which are yet to score a single point.

Slovenia will continue the qualifiers on 7 September by hosting Northern Ireland and will be hosted by San Marino three days later.


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