FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Having only entered World Cup qualifying for the first time ahead of France 1998, Slovenia have an admirable record for a young nation of two tournaments from five attempts. Their debut at Korea/Japan 2002 was a disappointing affair, losing all three of their games, but at South Africa 2010 they came agonisingly close to reaching the last 16, spurning a 2-0 lead against USA to ultimately finish a point behind second-placed England.

The team
Built around the solid spine of 2010 veterans - Samir Handanovic in goal, captain Bostjan Cesar and Miso Brecko in defence, with Cesar's Chievo team-mate Valter Birsa in midfield - four of their record cap-holders are at their heart. The likes of Kevin Kampl, Josip Ilicic and Tim Matavz look set to be the next line of stand-out performers.

The coach
Srecko Katanec returned to the helm following a decade-long hiatus in charge of the likes of Macedonia and United Arab Emirates, having taken them to Korea/Japan and UEFA EURO 2000. He also represented Yugoslavia at Italy 1990.

The stat
52 –
Croatia and South Africa are the only nations to have played less than Slovenia's 52 qualifiers and still qualify twice for the finals­.

The former stars
Zlatko Zahovic, Ales Ceh, Milenko Acimovic