Slovakia qualify in snowy Poland

CHORZOW - Slovakia reached the World Cup finals for the first time after grinding out a nervous 1-0 victory in Poland on Wednesday.

The Slovakians produced a lacklustre performance in poor conditions but an own goal by Polish defender Seweryn Gancarczyk in the third minute sent them through to next year's tournament in South Africa.

"We played well in these qualifiers, we were lucky today but we've also put a lot of heart into the game," Slovak coach Vladimir Weiss told reporters. "People deserved this and I'm glad that we made Slovaks happy."

Slovakia finished with 22 points in Group Three, two ahead of Slovenia.

Poland played an attacking game but were defied by a series of saves from Slovak keeper Jan Mucha.

The match was played in a near-empty stadium following heavy snowfall and the players struggled to keep their feet.

"The conditions are very hard, it is more a matter of accidents rather than (organised) plays," Poland goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek said.

Poland finished the qualifiers in fifth spot with 11 points.