A solid fullback who can operate effectively on either flank, Miso Brecko’s reliability has made him an automatic choice in Matjaz Kek’s favoured starting line-up. He missed just one of Slovenia’s 12 qualifiers en route to South Africa 2010, emerging as a key figure in a defence that conceded just six goals during the entire preliminary campaign.
The Cologne defender is most comfortable at right-back but has filled in on the left and occasionally in midfield for both club and country, versatility that will doubtless make him doubly valuable during the FIFA World Cup™. Brecko also brings with him a wealth of top-level experience from Germany, where he has spent the last six years of his career having moved to Bundesliga giants Hamburg at the tender age of 20.
Born in the small Slovenian town of Trbovlje, he started his career in the youth sides of NK Rudar Trbovlje before catching the eye of third tier Factor Ljubljana and then quickly earning a move to top flight outfit Smartno in 2003. Within a year, Brecko was on the move again, this time to Hamburg, where he made seven appearances in his first season. Earmarked as one for the future, the fullback was loaned out to Hansa Rostock during the 2005/06 campaign before spending a similar spell at FC Erzgebirge Aue the following season. Brecko returned to Hamburg in 2007 and made 14 appearances under Huub Stevens, but followed the Dutchman out of the club the following summer, agreeing to a three-year deal with Cologne, where he has been a regular ever since.
At international level, Brecko had already turned out for Slovenia’s U-17, U-19 and U-21 teams before he graduated to the senior side, making his debut in a friendly match against Slovakia on 17 November. The years since have witnessed him go on to accrue over 30 caps, and it is safe to expect that his brand of quiet dependability will once again be on show in South Africa.