World Cup hopes on the line as Slovenia play qualifiers against England, Scotland
Antonio Mlinar Delamea and the Slovenia national team will attempt to further their chances of attending next summer’s World Cup in Russia with a pair of qualifiers on October 5 and 8, but their likelihood of qualification looks grim.
The Slovenians play what will likely be their penultimate qualifier on Thursday against England at Wembley Stadium. Three days later, Slovenia host Scotland in Ljubljana.
No team from Slovenia’s qualification group – Group F – has secured a place in the World Cup yet. Mathematically, it’s wide open, with England leading the group on 20 points in front of Slovakia (15), Slovenia (14), Scotland (14), Lithuania (5), and Malta (0).
But England is expected to win Group F comfortably and book an automatic berth to Russia. A win against Slovenia on Thursday is all they need to get the job done.
The runner-up will then play a two-leg, home-and-away playoff with a runner-up from another group. The series winner advances to Russia.
Slovenia have accrued an 0-4-1 record against England since their incorporation as a FIFA member in 1992 after gaining independence from Yugoslavia.
Yugoslavia fared slightly better against the English – going 5-4-5 from 1939 to 1989 – but they never won at Wembley, a holy grail of soccer stadia, with their best result being a 1-1 draw in an international friendly on October 11, 1972.
Barring any upsets, it’s England’s group to lose with Slovakia looking a safe bet to finish second.
Delemea has earned a call to every one of his national team’s matches since joining the Revolution last spring.
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