countdown to south africa

Slovenia coach Kek does not fear group rivals

December 7, 2009
By Andrew Warshaw

Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek says his team will draw on knocking out Russia in the World Cup play-offs and will not fear anyone after being drawn to play England, the USA and Algeria in next year's finals.

Slovenia were beaten 2-1 at Wembley in September but Kek says there will be no feelings of inferiority when the two meet again in Port Elizabeth on June 23.

"As far as I am concerned this is one of the toughest draws we could have had but we were better in both games against Russia and when we play England this time, it will very different to Wembley.

"It will be the last game in the group and you can take it we will be very motivated to win if our chances of qualifying are still alive. People say we have nothing to lose but I don't subscribe to that. You always have something to lose."

It would be easy to dismiss the threat of Slovenia but any side that denies a Guus Hiddink team a World Cup spot deserves to be taken seriously. Slovenia have made something of a habit of upsetting the odds and what they lack in class they make up for in spirit.

"We are a small country but we believe that when we are well prepared we can take on anyone," says Kek. "It's good for football that a country like ours gets to the finals. We play with great heart and no-one can say we were lucky to be here. Having said that I genuinely think it could be England's time."