Slovenia Euro 2024 squad, predicted line-up versus Denmark, latest odds and star players

5 days ago 9

SLOVENIA was in party mode for weeks on end after they qualified for the Euros for the first time in 24 years – but the knockouts feel a world away.

Never in their history have they escaped the groups in a major tournament, winning just one of nine games at that stage – a 1-0 victory over Algeria at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Reuters
Slovenia’s recent results show they should not be underestimated[/caption]

That year also saw them paired in a group with England and they narrowly missed out on reaching the last-16 thanks to a narrow defeat to Fabio Capello’s Three Lions.

The Slovenians will be out for revenge over England on June 25.

Manager: Matjaz Kek

In his second spell as boss and has been in charge since 2018 – lost just two qualifying games despite having to overcome the death of his father.

Key man: Jan Oblak

A reliable figure between the sticks for Atletico Madrid and his country, Oblak is a one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

Likely line-up

How they attack

Under Kek we expect to see Slovenia playing a 4-4-2 or 4-2-4 shape.

They are typically well structured as they build up their attack with the wide attacking players staying outside when the ball is deep and one of the two midfielders dropping deep towards the ball.

Slovenia play an expansive 4-4-2

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Slovenia build-up with the two forward players positioned relatively close to one another in the attack.

The defenders and the full-backs along with one of the midfielders are positioned to help progress the ball.

In attack, when Slovenia are pushing forward and playing in the opposition half it is not unusual to see the two wide players come inside to play in narrow attacking positions.

In doing this, they almost end up playing with two advanced midfielders behind the two strikers.

They like to get players up to support their striker

When Slovenia sustain an attack, they narrow their shape in the opposition half with more players in the channel or central spaces as they look to overload.

While Slovenia can be structured in the way they build the attack they and also have a significant threat on the counter attack via RB Leipzig and Arsenal target Benjamin Sesko.

He is extremely fast and if the opposition are too high against the ball, Slovenia can break through.

Benjamin Sesko has the speed to run in behind

As Slovenia regain possession their two forwards find themselves 2v2 against the opposition defenders. A simple through pass is enough to release the striker in on goal.

How they defend

In defence, Slovenia are not a team that will press high.

Instead, they will drop into a deeper defensive block against the ball in a 4-4-2 shape.

The idea is to make it difficult for the opposition to play through them.

Slovenia are compact and opponents need to break down two banks of four

The defensive block for Slovenia against Portugal looks to stop the opposition from being able to play into the spaces between their defensive and midfield lines.

As the opposition move into their half in the wide areas we tend to see Slovenia look to slide their defensive block across the pitch.

They are quick to move and support team-mates and they deny spaces for the opposition.

If the ball goes into wide areas, the Slovenian compact unit shifts across the pitch

Again in the match against Portugal, Slovenia slide across and deny the opposition space.

Even when they are looking to build up more slowly, the Slovenian side refuse to press high against the ball.

They will hold a medium to deep defensive block and their strikers will remain disciplined in terms of not pressing.

They hold a medium block and their strikers will try to block passes centrally to the midfielders

As Denmark are in possession deep their defenders are trying to pull Slovenia out to create space. Instead, the Slovenian forwards retain their deep position and refuse to press.

Prediction

Slovenia are tipped to finish bottom of the group due to the lack of quality across their squad.

However, they are perhaps being underestimated after finishing joint-top of qualifying Group H with Denmark, who are tipped to make it the knockout stages with England.

Plus, Slovenia beat Portugal 2-0 in a friendly in March.

If Oblak and Sesko are on form, then they will think they can make it through in either second or as one of the best third-placed teams.

Latest odds

William Hill have the Slovenians as 200/1 outsiders – only Albania, Slovakia and Georgia have longer odds.

But they’re 7/4 to make the knockout stages.

Glam Wags

Oblak has reportedly begun dating Serbian tennis player Olga Danilovic.

She made the fourth-round at the French Open this year and has one career title to her name.

And defender Miha Blazic recently tied the knot with influencer Weronika, who has a 108,000 followers on Instagram.

@wera_marzeda
Weronika is going out with Miha Blazic[/caption]
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Olga Danilovic is rumoured to be dating Jan Oblak[/caption]
Instagram
Amelia Kurtic dates midfielder Jasmin[/caption]
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