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Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Slovenia skipper targets England upset

Soccernet staff

Slovenia captain Robert Koren insists his team still believe they can attain their pre-tournament goal of reaching the second round of the World Cup - even if they have to eliminate England to do it.

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Koren and Slovenia were eight minutes away from securing a place in the knockout phase when Michael Bradley's goal for the United States meant they took one point from their second Group C game instead of three.

While that match was a case of what might have been for Slovenia, having led 2-0, one point will do nicely against England in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday.

That result would probably send England home early, although that wouldn't be particularly undeserved in the eyes of Koren, who said he shared the common view that England have failed to perform so far.

Slovenia's qualification play-off victory over Russia is testament to their ability to cause an upset and Koren sees no reason why they cannot spring a surprise against England.

"It was a big achievement for the country to come to the World Cup but now everybody wants to improve,'' Koren said. "When we arrived in South Africa we said we wanted to go through the group stage and we are full of confidence that we can.

"We already expected before the tournament to go through the group stage, and this is still the same. We all know that England is a really good team with big players in their squad, but we are not thinking too much about England - we will concentrate on ourselves and the way we want to play.

"The first game, England versus the USA, England played OK, we saw some good things and bad things, and it was the same in the second game against Algeria. England didn't show the football we expected, but we all need to know that England will be ready.''

Central defender Marko Suler is still suffering with a rib injury sustained in the game against the USA and is set to be replaced by Matej Mavric, while Nejc Pecnik, who featured as a substitute against the Americans, has been flown home for treatment on an ankle injury which is expected to sideline him for three months.

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