STA, 11 June 2019 - The Slovenian national football team defeated Latvia 5:0 in Riga on Monday to earn its first win in the four matches it has so far played in the qualifiers for the 2020 Euro.
In what was almost a do-or-die game after they drew the first two matches and lost to Austria on the road on Friday, Slovenia came out of the gates, with Domen Črnigoj scoring goals in the 24th and 27th minute.
The match was practically decided in the 29th minute, when Josip Iličić scored from the penalty spot for 3:0. The same player scored the fourth goal for Slovenia in the 44th minute from just inside the box.
This was the first time Slovenia scored four goals in the first half since the 2004 Euro qualifier with Cyprus in April 2003.
Slovenia did not have to wait too much for another goal against the hapless Latvians, as Miha Zajc scored in the 47th minute from very close to the goal, setting the final score 5:0.
The pace settled down from then on, with Slovenia more or less controlling the match to earn their biggest win since March 2016, when they defeated the minnows San Marino 6:0 in the 2016 Euro qualifiers.
Slovenia's head coach Matjaž Kek commended the players for bouncing back from the defeat in Klagenfurt. "You don't score five goals on the road every day. Congratulations to the lads, this is a nice conclusion to the season."
Latvia's Slaviša Stojanović, who coached Slovenia in 2011-2012, said that "this was a football clinic. We saw two different qualities. You can see the difference in quality."
After four rounds in Group G, Slovenia is in fourth place with five points, trailing Poland (12), Israel (7) and Austria (6).
Slovenia will have a break in the qualifiers for three months, and will then host Poland on 6 September an Israel on 9 September.