Factbox on Slovakia
Colours: White shirts, white shorts, blue socks.
Previous World Cup Appearances: 8 as Czechoslovakia: 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1970, 1982, 1990.
None as independent nation
Best World Cup performance: runners-up in 1962 as Czechoslovakia
Coach: Vladimir Weiss
Most capped player: Miroslav Karhan 96
Top scorer: Szilard Nemeth 22
Slovakia beat more heralded eastern European rivals Czech Republic and Poland to the top spot in their qualifying group to reach their first major tournament as an independent nation. A relatively kind draw has put them alongside world champions Italy, Paraguay and New Zealand in the finals but their progress to the last 16 depends heavily on their ability to reproduce their best qualifying form. Slovakia showed good attacking skills and solid defensive form on the road to South Africa, but emulating Czechoslovakia's 1962 run will be a far-fetched dream for the World Cup debutants.
Players to watch:
Vladimir Weiss junior, the coach's son, could be one of Slovakia's secret weapons while Marek Hamsik and Stanislav Sestak are expected to be the team's outstanding players. Sestak was the team's top scorer in qualifying with six goals. Martin Skrtel has recovered from a long-term injury and needs to find his best form quickly to make the defence strong. (Compiled by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Clare Fallon; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)