England's opponents 3: Slovenia

England's final group game is against Slovenia on Wednesday June 23 at 4pm at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. Slovenia in a sentence: Did well to get here and won't get more than three games, but they're organised and could cause a problem for the unwary.


World Cup appearances: One

Best performance: Groups in 2002

FIFA world ranking November 2009: 33rd

How they qualified: Pulled off the shock of Europe's two-legged play-offs when they beat Russia on away goals, thanks to a 1-0 home win in the return leg after hauling themselves back into the tie in the dying minutes of a 2-1 first-leg defeat in Moscow. Slovenia had finished behind Slovakia in Northern Ireland's tight group, above the more-heralded Poland and Czech Republic.

Coach: Matjaz Kek played for Slovenian side Maribor and Austrian team GAK Graz. Managed Maribor to two league titles and coached the Slovenian under-16 side before taking over the seniors in 2007. Failed to qualify for Euro 2008 but won the hearts of Slovenia's fans by steering them to South Africa 2010. Has brought the best out of a modest squad after instilling discipline and the fighting spirit that saw them through.

Key players: Milivoje Novakovic (Cologne, forward, 30) Slovenia's top scorer in qualifying with five goals, he was also his club's top scorer in 2008-09 with 16 goals after his 20 goals the previous campaign had topped the 2.Bundesliga scoring charts and led Cologne to promotion. A robust striker with plenty of pace, 'Super Nova' is a clinical finisher who seems at the peak of his powers - and will need to be to take the chances that do come his way. Samir Handanovic (Udinese, goalkeeper, 25) One of Europe's most promising goalkeepers who deserves the lion's share of the credit for Slovenia's progress, having impressed throughout the qualifiers. Was loaned to Lazio, Treviso and Rimini after signing for Udinese in 2004 but has established himself as the first-choice goalkeeper after returning to the Italian first-division side in 2007. Zlatko Dedic (Vfl Bochum, forward, 25) Bosnian-born Dedic scored the goal that put Slovenia through to the World Cup finals. Moved to the Bundesliga after eight years in Italy following his 2001 move from Slovenian outfit Domzale to Parma. Scored in both group-stage qualifiers against Poland.

Prospects: Slovenia are a fit, disciplined and well-drilled side – only Netherlands conceded fewer than their four goals in 10 qualifiers, and the Dutch played two games fewer – but lack flair and talent and will need to play above their usual standard to get past the group stage. Could be a stumbling block for a better-ranked team in the group stage. NEWS: England's venues 3 - Port Elizabeth NEWS: Capello reaction to draw NEWS: Donovan relishing Beckham showdown