Split – Slovenia lost against Croatia 0:3 in Split on Tuesday in the sixth round of the group stage of the World Cup qualifiers, with almost no chances left for qualification now. Coach Matjaž Kek and captain Jan Oblak acknowledged Croatia’s superiority after the match.
The Slovenian team arrived in Split with mixed feelings, as the home team were the firm favourites. Croatia, a finalist at the last World Cup, is also ranked much higher than Slovenia in the international rankings (18th and 66th, respectively).
After several missed chances, Croatia took the lead in the 33rd minute. The second half brought more Croatian dominance, and Kek reacted with a triple substitution in the 65th minute, but Croatia took a 2-0 lead immediately after.
The Slovenian team thus found itself in big trouble and could no longer find a way out, and Croatia’s 3-0 win was confirmed in injury time by Nikola Vlašić.
“The defeat could have been even higher, and we deserved absolutely nothing. This is proof that Croatia is the best in our group. I can only congratulate them,” Slovenian coach Kek said after the match.
Similarly captain Jan Oblak said that Slovenia were not up to the level of such a match, also congratulating Croatia for their performance.
Slovenia are now down to fourth in Group H, with seven points from six games. In October, Slovenia will play Malta (A) and Russia (H), and conclude the group stage in November with games against Slovakia (A) and Cyprus (H).