STA, 29 November 2018 - Just 14 months after claiming the title of European champion, Slovenia have been denied a place in the 2019 World Cup after a crushing 82:54 defeat against Ukraine on Thursday.
The seventh defeat in nine games cemented Slovenia's ranking as the worst team in group 1 even as they brought Ukraine closer to the top three spots that come with a ticket to the final competition in China.
Qualifying was always going to be a tall order for the reigning European champions, who have been left without the players that were instrumental in winning the title in Istanbul in 2017.
NBA player Goran Dragić ended his career in the team, the naturalised American Anthony Randolph skipped the qualifications for health reasons, and Luka Dončić was not allowed to play by officials of the Dallas Mavericks, where he has just started his NBA career.
There are three more games to go until the end of the qualifying. Slovenia will take on Latvia in Ljubljana this weekend before finishing the round in February, first on the road against Turkey and in the end at home with Ukraine.