Slovenia beat Cyprus to wrap up 2022 World Cup qualifying

Ljubljana – Slovenia beat Cyprus 2:1 in Ljubljana on Sunday to wrap up the qualifying campaign for the 2022 World Cup in the fourth spot in Group H. After a scoreless first half, Miha Zajc and Adam Gnezda Čerin scored for Slovenia to close the disappointing qualifiers on a winning note.

In the match in front of some 5,100 spectators in Stožice Stadium, Zajc scored in the 48th minute from inside the box, while Gnezda Čerin increased the lead to 2:0 in the 84th with a precise kick from just outside the box.

Androikos Kakoulli meanwhile scored in the closing minutes for the guests from Cyprus, who finished fifth in the group with five points, the same as the last-placed Malta.

Slovenia finished the qualifiers at 14 points from ten matches, the same as the third-placed Slovakia, which defeated Malta today. Croatia qualified to the final tournament directly by beating Russia, who will have another chance in the play-offs.

The Slovenian men’s national football team is meanwhile turning towards preparing for the next season of the UEFA Europa League and the qualifiers for the 2024 Euro.

Slovenia’s head coach Matjaž Kek said that it was a “deserved win that could have been even higher. In terms of the overall result, the goal has not been achieved, while we did play some good games, defeating Croatia for instance.”

“After the latest games, I have a good feeling. There will be no competitive football for a while, and then two friendlies are on schedule, and four dates in the Nations League in June, where new challenges against quality opponents await us,” he added.

Slovenia’s goalkeeper Jan Oblak said that the decisive point was the loss to Croatia in Split, while “we showed in the recent matches that everything is possible. The most important thing is that we believe in ourselves and to show this on the pitch.”