Soccer UEFA Euro Qualification - Group Stage
Slovenia vs Denmark - Match Preview
⚽ 19 June 2023 - 18:45 GMT +0
Slovenia's impressive eight-game unbeaten streak (W5, D3) came to an end on Friday night, with a 2-0 defeat against Finland, their closest rival in terms of FIFA ranking in Group H of this Euro 2024 Qualifying campaign (ECQ). Despite that loss, Slovenia is still part of a four-team battle for the top spot in the group, with each team securing six points after three matchdays in this ECQ cycle (W2, L1).
History suggests a major challenge awaits Matjaž Kek's men as they face the group favourites Denmark, as the only previous time these two nations shared a qualification group was for the FIFA World Cup 1998, Slovenia lost both H2Hs by a combined score of 6-0! Things could be different this time, however, as Slovenia have won four of their last five ECQ home matches, including a 2-0 victory against Poland (#23), who have currently ranked only four places below Denmark (#19) by FIFA.
After a shock loss in Kazakhstan three months ago, Danish coach Kasper Hjulmand expected a response from his players and they fulfilled their commitment with a 1-0 victory against Northern Ireland on Friday. But VAR saved them from sharing the spoils in the 94th minute during that game, adding further weight to the notion that Denmark hasn’t been as dominant as in their last qualification cycle for the 2022 World Cup where they managed a streak of nine consecutive victories!
Hjulmand, who recently had his contract extended until the 2026 World Cup, knows that improving away performances could significantly help their chances in a surprisingly hotly contested Group H, which in turn could help secure Denmark’s tenth appearance in the European Championship finals. Yet the Red and White have won only one of their last eight ECQ away matches (D4, L3), and that lone victory was against Gibraltar (#201), the second-to-last ranked UEFA nation in the FIFA rankings.
📋 Key battle: Slovenia has remained unbeaten in all six international matches (W4, D2) in which Benjamin Sesko has scored, including two matches against Scandinavian nations, Sweden and Norway. To contain him, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel can perhaps find inspiration in his father Peter Schmeichel, who never conceded a goal in three H2H encounters with Slovenia.
⚡ Hot stat: Slovenia has failed to find the net just once in 14 home ECQ matches.
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