The Slovenian national football team represents Slovenia in international football and is controlled by the Slovenian Football Association. In the period between 1920 and 1991, Slovenia was not entitled to set up its own team for competitive games. Instead, local players played for the Yugoslav national football team. Slovenia played its first official game in 1992, one year after the independence of the country from Yugoslavia.
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The Slovenian national team has participated in three major football competitions. Slovenia qualified for the UEFA Euro 2000 in 1999 after defeating Ukraine in a play-off. Slovenia scored another success two years later when they qualified for the 2002 FIFA World Cup, defeating Romania in a play-off. They have not lost a game throughout the qualifying campaign, finishing second with six wins and six draws but scoring no points in the group stage of the finals. Although Slovenia did not qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, it was the only team to defeat eventual champions Italy. Slovenia qualified for their last major tournament in 2009 after defeating Russia in a play-off to secure a place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
2002 World Cup
Slovenia played in Group B with Spain, Paraguay and South Africa. All matches of the group were played in South Korea.
In the first game Slovenia played for the second time in a row in a big tournament against Spain. In heavy rain Spain took over the lead at the end of the first half with Raúl's goal. Valerón added a second 15 minutes full time for a 2-0 lead. Seven minutes later, Sebastjan Cimirotič scored the first World Cup goal for Slovenia and brought the result down to 2: 1. Fernando Hierro scored a penalty in the 87th minute for the final score of 3-1. This game is notorious in Slovenia for the conflict between coach Srečko Katanec and player Zlatko Zahovič in the locker room after the match, which led to Zlatko Zahovič being sent home after the tournament and Srečko Katanec resigning. Slovenia lost the remaining two games against South Africa (1-0) and Paraguay (3-1). Milenko Ačimovič scored the second goal for Slovenia at the tournament.
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