Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek is refusing to be distracted by the turmoil within the England camp ahead of tomorrow's Group C showdown in Port Elizabeth.
Kek said: "We are aware of the significance of tomorrow's match for England and Slovenia. The stakes are very high. England have to go to the second round; Slovenia wish to go to the second round. This is our wish. I am just dealing with the problems Slovenia face, not focusing on the problems England face. I have great respect for England and their players and their coach. However, my thoughts are devoted only to Slovenia."
Kek's response may have been in part diplomatic, but there is little doubt he will send his side out at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium under orders to make history. Slovenia defeated Russia in a play-off to reach their second FIFA World Cup™ finals since gaining independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991 and are bidding to reach the last 16 for the first time.
Kek said: "This would mean a lot. It would be a terrific success if Slovenia got to the second round. But I am not interested in who won't make it to the second round because we do.
My thoughts are devoted only to Slovenia.
"It is our wish to get to the second round. We have a good starting point. This may be unexpected, but we are aware that we will be playing a very strong team, and that's why we need to gear up for this match. We feel confident, we are courageous and we will be able to face up to England."
Slovenia will progress if they can avoid defeat by England, but Kek insists they will not play for a draw. Indeed, he admits he has not even looked at the various possible scenarios. He said: "There are so many combinations for the second round. I don't want to go into details, I don't want to waste my energy.
"Is it a draw? Is it a win? It's a waste of time. I don't know which team can say it will have a draw with England. Slovenia will do its best to win the match and play the game that has proved to be so successful. But tomorrow is a different game, it's a fight to get to the knockout phase and it is an additional motivation to play against a team that has been so big. But if we play our game tomorrow, I am sure we can get to the second round.
"The quality of England is clear. England, for me, are still a favourite to win the World Cup at the very end. But the stakes are high and all four teams can go into the second round. That's why Group C has an appeal to it. But prior to the World Cup, I wasn't so sure that England and the United States were sure to reach the second round."
Slovenia, like England, were unable to train at the stadium this evening amid concerns over the pitch, which hosted yesterday's Group H clash between Chile and Switzerland.