SLOVENIA SPENDS HEAVILY ON TURKEY

The number of breaks in the Serbian football Superliga season is reportedly costing each of the club’s €2 million each for training in Turkey during the close seasons. That is how much clubs from Serbia’s top-tier competition spend on special preparation conditions, all the while they often owe their players monthly wages and contractually agreed instalments during the close season.

UNITED FACING COMPETITION FOR LLCIC

Slovenian player Josip Ilcic has impressed Manchester United but they are reportedly facing some stiff competition from Russian clubs for his signing. The playmaker signed for Serie A side Palermo in the summer for €2 million (£1.7 million), but the Italian club could be set to command a fee of up to €20 million less than a year after bringing him west from NK Maribor.

Ilcic’s fine form this season has seen him become one of the hottest properties in European football.

ILLICIC ATTRACTING INTEREST

The Slovenian international Josip Ilicic is attracting a lot of interest from major clubs across Europe. Liverpool had been linked with a move for the 22-year-old in November by German website 4-4-2 after a number of sensational displays in his debut season.

However, it would appear that Liverpool have yet to show an official interest in the Slovenian, and Chelsea and Spurs have now moved ahead of the Anfield club in the pursuit of his signature.

MATAVZ PREPARES

Tim Matavž has not fully recovered from his illness, but is ready to play after training. Sagittarius ten goals for Groningen championship this season has health problems. Christmas holidays he spent in Slovenia and silvestroval in Bled, for the second day of the new year, ill, on Wednesday returned to the Netherlands, but still not fully recovered, so the Groningenom not travel to Tenerife. Other players should be joined as soon as it came toward him. Maybe on Saturday.

SLOVENIA DRAW

A late error proved costly as Slovenia only drew with Serbia. Slovenia took the lead through striker Milivoje Novakovic in the 63rd minute and appeared to be headed to victory when Serbia’s Nikola Zigic capitalised on poor marking in the box to head home. Following their surpise defeat to Northern Ireland on Friday, Slovenia came into the match hungry for redemption. This showed early on as Slovenia looked more dangerous with the ball.

SLOVENIA FAIL TO WIN

Slovenia failed to win its opening Euro 2012 qualifiers after being defeated by Northern Ireland. Slovenia squandered a host of chances in the first half with Milivoje Novakovic and Zlatan Ljubijankic posing a potent attacking threat.

The hosts dominated after the break but the visitors netted in a rare attack as Evans turned in Craig Cathcart’s low cross at the backpost on 70 minutes.

Maik Taylor saved from Josip Ilicic as Northern Ireland held on for the win.

SLOVENIA MAKE TOP 20

Slovenia made it into the top 20 of FIFA rankings for the first time in the country’s history after an impressive showing in the World Cup.

One win and a draw out of three matches at the World Cup in South Africa propelled the Slovenian national football team to the 19th place in FIFA’s latest world rankings, the highest ranking ever for Slovenia.

Their previous high was the 23th spot in April. President of the Slovenian Football Association (NZS) Ivan Simic said ahead of the World Cup that Slovenia’s goal was to get among the top 20.

SLOVENIA NAME FINAL SQUAD

Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek has trimmed his World Cup squad to 23 on Tuesday by dropping three more players from his provisional roster.

Jan Koprivec, Aleksandar Rajcevic, Dare Vrsic and Miran Burgic were already cut from the original 30-man squad and now Mirnes Sisic, Darian Matic and Dejan Kelhar have also been told that they will miss out on this summer’s tournament.

Young attacker Tim Matavz is the biggest surprise in the final squad. The Groningen attacker has yet to make his first international appearance for Slovenia’s senior side.

KOREN BACKS SLOVENIA

Slovenia captain Robert Koren has told ESPNsoccernet he is confident that Slovenia will prove they deserve their place on the world stage at this summer’s World Cup finals.

Many in the football world are sceptical about Slovenia’s ability to mix it with the big boys at the finals, but Koren, who has spent the last three years in England playing for West Brom, insists his team are ready to prove the doubters wrong.

“There are not many people who believed we could go to the world so it is a big, big achievement for us as such a small country,” Koren told Soccernet.