STA, 7 September 2019 - The Slovenian national football team beat the favoured Poland at home on Friday evening 2:0 to keep hopes alive for qualifying to the 2020 Euro. The win is a huge boost for the team which will host Israel on Monday, with which it is tied for the third place in the qualifying group.
Hosting the Group G leaders Poland in the sold-out Stožice Stadium, Slovenia needed a win to remain in play for the first two spots in the group that lead to the final tournament, and were given boost by more than 15,000 spectators in Ljubljana.
Slovenia displayed one of their best performances in recent years and were the first to score a goal against Poland in these qualifiers, with Aljaž Struna scoring in the 35th minute after an assist by Josip Iličić for Slovenia's 1:0 advantage.
Iličić was also the assist man in the 65th minute, when he sent the ball deep in Poland's territory to engage Andraž Šporar, who scored for 2:0 to the delight of the Slovenian crowd and the disappointment of some 2,000 Poles who came to watch the match.
It was only a second win for Slovenia in seven tries against Poland, a much-needed boost ahead of Monday's match in the same qualifiers against Israel, with which Slovenia shares the third place in the group with eight points each.
Slovenia's head coach Matjaž Kek said it was a "real game, and good atmosphere. When you beat the leading team in the group, it can be a great plus and impetus at that moment. Congratulations to the lads and let the Stožice Stadium be full also on Monday."
Šporar admitted that the team is a little bit euphoric after the win, but was quick to note that the "win needs to be confirmed on Monday with another three points. If we fail to do this, this win will mean nothing," he added.
Poland are still at the top of Group G with 12 points midway through the qualifiers, followed by Austria with nine. The last two teams in the standings are North Macedonia (5) and Latvia with no points.