STA, 17 November 2019 - The Slovenian men's national football team beat Latvia 1:0 in Ljubljana on Saturday evening in the penultimate round of qualifying for the UEFA Euro 2020, but the door to the tournament have been closed as Austria defeated North Macedonia to claim the second place in Group G.
Despite having only slight theoretical chances of making it to the UEFA Euro 2020, Slovenia played very well in front of the home crowd of some 11,000 in the rainy Stožice Stadium, but failed to score in the first half.
It was actually Latvia's Igors Tarasovs who scored an own goal in the 53rd minute to give Slovenia an 1:0 advantage, which they kept until the end, while having some more good chances to increase the lead.
However, the win was to no avail as Austria, the main rivals for the second spot in the group, which directly leads to the final tournament, beat North Macedonia 2:1 in Vienna last evening to join the group winners Poland as the runner-up.
Speaking after the match, which ended before Austria played North Macedonia, Slovenia's head coach Matjaž Kek said that "we showed our will and desire, but also uncertainty in certain moments."
Forward Andraž Šporar said that it was a must-win game after the two losses in the October round of the qualifying, in which the Latvians "eventually scored an own goal, if we weren't able to, but the three points is what counts."
With 14 points out of nine matches, Slovenia are currently third in the group, trailing Austria (19) and Poland (22), whom they will play in Warsaw on Tuesday to wrap up the unsuccessful qualifiers.