Slovenia have appeared in the finals tournament of the FIFA World Cup on two occasions, in 2002 and 2010. The team was eliminated in the group stage on both occasions. Their first and, to date, the only World Cup victory came in 2010, when Slovenia defeated Algeria 1–0 with a goal by Robert Koren.

World Cup record

From 1930 to 1990, Slovenia did not compete at the World Cup as the country was part of Yugoslavia. Since their independence in 1991, Slovenia have qualified for two World Cups and was eliminated in the group stage on both occasions.

Year Round Position Pld W D L GF GA
United States 1994 Did not enter
France 1998 Did not qualify
South Korea Japan 2002 Group stage 30th 3 0 0 3 2 7
Germany 2006 Did not qualify
South Africa 2010 Group stage 18th 3 1 1 1 3 3
Brazil 2014 Did not qualify
Russia 2018
Qatar 2022
Canada Mexico United States 2026 To be determined
Total Group stage 2/8 6 1 1 4 5 10

2002 FIFA World Cup

Slovenia qualified for their first World Cup in 2002 under the management of Srečko Katanec. They suffered a 3–1 defeat to Spain in their opening game. Katanec's decision to substitute midfielder Zlatko Zahovič led to an argument that ended with Zahovič being expelled from the team and sent home, and Katanec announced his intention to resign as manager after the tournament.[1] Slovenia lost their second game 1–0 to South Africa, leaving them unable to qualify from the group.[2] The side's final game ended in a 3–1 defeat to Paraguay.[3]

Group B

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Spain 3 3 0 0 9 4 +5 9
 Paraguay 3 1 1 1 6 6 0 4
 South Africa 3 1 1 1 5 5 0 4
 Slovenia 3 0 0 3 2 7 −5 0
Spain 3–1 Slovenia
Raúl 44'
Valerón 74'
Hierro 87' (pen.)
Report Cimirotič 82'

South Africa 1–0 Slovenia
Nomvethe 4' Report

Slovenia 1–3 Paraguay
Ačimovič 45+1' Report Cuevas 65', 84'
Campos 73'

2010 FIFA World Cup

Slovenia were the smallest country in terms of population to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.[4] Under the management of Matjaž Kek, the side qualified for the tournament by winning a two-legged playoff against Russia despite having lost the first leg.[5] Slovenia beat Algeria 1–0 in their opening game, securing their first ever World Cup victory, and drew 2–2 with the United States. This meant that the side only needed to draw their final group game against England to reach the second round of the tournament.[6] However, a 1–0 defeat to England, combined with a United States victory over Algeria, saw the side finish third in the group and fail to progress.[7]

Group C

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  United States 3 1 2 0 4 3 +1 5 Advance to knockout stage
2  England 3 1 2 0 2 1 +1 5
3  Slovenia 3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
4  Algeria 3 0 1 2 0 2 −2 1
Source: FIFA
Rules for classification: Tie-breaking criteria
Algeria 0–1 Slovenia
Report Koren 78'

Slovenia 2–2 United States
Birsa 12'
Ljubijankić 41'
Report Donovan 47'
Bradley 81'

Slovenia 0–1 England
Report Defoe 22'

Record players

Slovenia's 2010 squad did not feature a single player from the 2002 tournament, so no player had the chance to play more than three World Cup matches for Slovenia.

Rank Player Matches World Cups
1 Milenko Ačimovič 3 2002
Aleš Čeh 3 2002
Sebastjan Cimirotič 3 2002
Amir Karić 3 2002
Željko Milinovič 3 2002
Džoni Novak 3 2002
Milan Osterc 3 2002
Miran Pavlin 3 2002
Mladen Rudonja 3 2002
Valter Birsa 3 2010
Mišo Brečko 3 2010
Boštjan Cesar 3 2010
Zlatko Dedić 3 2010
Samir Handanović 3 2010
Bojan Jokić 3 2010
Andraž Kirm 3 2010
Robert Koren 3 2010
Zlatan Ljubijankić 3 2010
Milivoje Novaković 3 2010
Aleksandar Radosavljević 3 2010
Marko Šuler 3 2010

Goalscorers

Five Slovenian players scored one goal each at FIFA World Cups.

Rank Player Goals World Cups
1 Milenko Ačimovič 1 2002
Sebastjan Cimirotič 1 2002
Valter Birsa 1 2010
Robert Koren 1 2010
Zlatan Ljubijankić 1 2010

References

  1. ^ "Slovenia send Zahovic home". BBC Sport. 6 June 2002. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  2. ^ "S Africa send Slovenia home". BBC Sport. 8 June 2002. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Paraguay snatch vital win". BBC Sport. 12 June 2002. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Little Slovenia thinking big". FIFA. 17 June 2010. Archived from the original on 24 June 2021. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  5. ^ Viškovič, Rok (18 November 2019). "Večer v Mariboru, ko je Zlatko postal zlatko" (in Slovenian). Siol. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  6. ^ "World Cup 2010: Slovenia boss respects England quality". BBC Sport. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
  7. ^ Plestenjak, Rok (13 June 2018). "SP 2010: Matjaž Kek potožil: Naj gre vse skupaj k vragu" (in Slovenian). Siol. Retrieved 21 June 2021.