Zlatko Dedic

What does the World Cup mean to you? Obviously I do not have a lot of experience of playing at the World Cup, as this will be my first appearance. There are very tough games in front of us. Everything will be special for us: a new experience, but a wonderful one I am sure. We all dreamed of playing at the World Cup. Now we are waiting for it with a lot of curiosity.

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What are your strongest World Cup memories? I have the fondest memories of the last World Cup in Germany, because Italy won the tournament. I have been watching it very precisely. I also remember the World Cup final from 1994 between Brazil and Italy when Roberto Baggio missed the decisive penalty kick.

What are your nation’s expectations at the World Cup? For Slovenia, it is a big thing to even qualify for the World Cup. Now our goal is to reach the next round, which is a hard task. We must keep on doing the things that worked during the qualifiers and play as a team. Every single player must have that in mind. This is essential and it will be our main weapon in South Africa.

How far do you think you will get at the World Cup? I think it is realistic to expect to qualify for the second round. This is our dream and our goal. But many factors will be decisive. It is important to start the tournament well and then take it one game at a time.

Have you ever been to South Africa before? No, I have never been there. It will be a new experience for me.

How do you think it will be? I have no idea. But I am not overly bothered with it. When the time will come, we will see how it will be. I will be prepared.

Who is Slovenia’s dangerman? I would not point out any individuals. We are very strong collectively. If we all work for the team we can be successful at the World Cup.

What about England’s dangerman? We were lucky enough to play a friendly against England at Wembley. But there is no point in talking about individuals. England have top quality players in all positions. They are a very dangerous opponent.

Who would you most like to face if you play England? No one really. When we play against the big teams, I try not to think about the opponents too much. I think of myself and my team and how we can do our best. Only then we can see if we were successful or not.

How far do you think England will get at the World Cup? I think England have a very strong team this year. Also, they have a great coach in Fabio Capello. He is a very experienced coach who knows how to win. Maybe England was not among the favourites at the last few tournaments, but now it is different.

If you won the World Cup, what would be the first thing you’d do when you got back to your home country? I think our plane could not even land at the airport back home because there would be so many people there. Honestly, it is hard to imagine us going that far. We will feel we have won the World Cup if we reach the second round, even though anything can happen in football. Let us wait and see.

Interview: June 2010.

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