Slovenia host Northern Ireland at the Stozice Stadium this Thursday in the fifth match of the UEFA Euros Qualifiers. With both Slovenia and Northern Ireland outside of the top two qualification spots, a win is necessary if either wants to challenge for the spot in the Euros.
Slovenia sit fourth in Group H after four games. With two wins, one draw and one loss, Slovenia have seven points, two points behind the top two spots on nine points. However, Denmark are also on seven points, making the top of Group H very close, with either of the four teams able to push for qualification.
The first game of the Qualifiers for Slovenia came against Kazakhstan. Though Kazakhstan took the lead through Maksim Samorodov, Slovenia completed the 2 - 1 comeback through goals from David Brekalo and Zan Vipotnik. Slovenia’s first home game was against San Marino. With 25 shots, five of those on target, and 77% of the possession, a Benjamin Sesko goal and an own goal from Roberto Di Maio gave Slovenia the 2 - 0 win. The trip to Finland was a lot less successful for Slovenia as goals from Joel Pohjanpalo and Oliver Antman gave Finland the 2 - 0 win.
Slovenia’s last time out was a visit from Denmark. Andraz Sporar scored in the 25th minute for Slovenia to give them the 1 - 0 lead, but they couldn’t hold on to it until halftime as Rasmus Hojlund scored for Denmark just before the halftime whistle. This scoreline stuck and the game ended in a 1 - 1 draw.
Northern Ireland, on the other hand, currently sit fifth in Group H. In four games Northern Ireland picked up one win and three losses, leaving them on just three points. This also leaves them four points behind Slovenia above them and six points adrift of top spot Finland.
San Marino were Northern Ireland’s first opponent and a double from Dion Charles, with a goal in each half, gave Northern Ireland the 2 - 0 win. However, the visit from Finland next was back to losing for Northern Ireland. Benjamin Kallman scored the only goal of the game in the first half, giving Finland the 1 - 0 win. It was another 1 - 0 loss for Northern Ireland when they travelled to Denmark. Jonas Wind scored early in the second half to take all three points for Denmark.
Northern Ireland’s last Qualifier game of the last international break was against Kazakhstan. With 60% of the possession and just one shot on target, Northern Ireland slumped to a 1 - 0 loss through a Abat Aimbetov goal late on.
Slovenia and Northern Ireland have met just five times in their histories with the first meeting coming as recent as 2008. Northern Ireland have the advantage in the fixture with three wins in comparison to Slovenia’s one win, with the other game going to a draw. In fact, Slovenia’s last won in that first meeting in 2008.