Slovenia vs Serbia. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

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Serbia fell to England 0:1, while Slovenia drew 1:1 with Denmark in their Euro opener. With England leading Group C, the Slovenia-Serbia showdown is crucial for playoff hopes

Slovenia will face Serbia in the UEFA EURO 2024 second-round match of Group C at the Allianz Arena in Munich. The fixture will take place on Thursday, June 20, beginning at 18:30 IST.

Parimatch News will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

Slovenia News & Current Form: 

Slovenia’s preparation for the tournament has been less than impressive. Apart from a notable victory over Portugal, the team has shown modest results in friendly matches, including a narrow win against the USA and draws with Malta and Bulgaria. There was also a hard-fought victory over Armenia, even though a goal was conceded. These outcomes highlight the challenges the team faces. However, the second round offers the national team a chance to confirm their ambitions and prove they can compete on equal terms with the strongest opponents.

The Dragons enter this European Championship as underdogs, particularly given the strength of Group C, which includes Denmark, England, and Serbia. Nonetheless, the first round was relatively successful for Slovenia as they managed to secure a point against the Scandinavians, semi-finalists of the last EURO. It’s worth noting that Slovenia last participated in the continental championship back in 2000 as an already independent team but did not advance beyond the group stage.

The side under the mentorship of Matjaž Kek side began their match against Denmark by completely ceding the initiative to their opponents. The Slovenian team was penned into their half, occasionally launching counterattacks. They played in a 4-4-2 formation, but even the forwards often had to fall back to defend. As a result, the first half was dictated by the second team, who had 64% possession. The main protagonists of the opening 45 minutes were Jonas Wind and Christian Eriksen, who combined for the first goal in the 17th minute. Remarkably, it was exactly 1100 days after the Danish midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest – a chilling moment from the last Euros that is still vividly remembered.

In the second half, Slovenia came out determined to at least seek revenge, and it seemed as if they were a different team. Although possession only increased from 36% to 40%, their expected goals (xG) improved from 0.06 in the first half to 1.08 in the second. Kek’s men became bolder in challenging Denmark’s defence, attempting eight shots towards goal in the second half, two of which were on target, compared to just three off-target attempts in the first half. Slovenia deservedly equalised through a long-range strike by Erik Janža.

The equalising goal in the meeting with Denmark was scored by Erik Janža of Górnik Zabrze FC

Kek’s charges extended their scoring streak to 13 matches in a row, which began a year ago in June 2023 against the same Denmark. The draw was the first of Euro 2024, following five consecutive matches where one team emerged victorious. The Scandinavians had the edge in xG (1.69 to 1.23), but it wasn’t significant. Therefore, a draw seemed a fair result. Slovenia’s head coach did not hide his pride in his team:

“You didn’t believe me when I said these are special players. Emotions sometimes work one way, sometimes another. Instead of retreating, as perhaps some expected, they pushed forward. Congratulations to the lads. We were not the best in all moments. Some were somewhat overwhelmed by the atmosphere. In the first half, we had chances we should have capitalised on.”

“Janža’s goal rewarded us for everything the lads gave on the pitch. The energy came from the stands, and then the players realised what they could do; the Danes were pulling back. It’s a shame we didn’t use a few chances, but they also had moments. A real match, a real European Championship,” said Kek.

Looking ahead to their next match against Serbia, the Dragons have a real chance to improve their standing in the group table. This encounter appears more suited for a contest for victory, whereas the final group stage match against England promises to be extremely challenging. The match against the upcoming opponent is crucial for securing the necessary points to advance from the group. Led by the outstanding goalkeeper Jan Oblak, the Slovenian players aim to showcase their best football and fully realise their potential.

It’s worth highlighting Benjamin Šeško for his powerful strikes, one of which hit the post, and Janža, who scored the only goal. However, Oblak had the most significant impact on the match result. It’s hard to blame him for the first conceded goal, but the Slovenian goalkeeper saved his team from defeat in a crucial second-half moment when Danish forward Rasmus Højlund shot from close range.

Some may attribute this to poor finishing from the forward, but Oblak’s extensive experience and ability to position himself correctly also played a role. Additionally, Kek praised the players, noting that the experienced goalkeeper instilled confidence in the younger players, calming and encouraging many of his teammates who were participating in a match of this calibre for the first time.

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Serbia News & Current Form: 

The Serbian national team successfully qualified for Euro 2024 by finishing second in their qualifying Group G. Serbia outperformed their closest rivals Montenegro, securing a three-point lead, although they trailed behind the group leaders Hungary by four points after two defeats with the same score of 1:2.

In their preparatory friendly matches, the results for the Eagles were mixed. The team achieved an excellent result with a 3:0 away win against Sweden but then lost 1:2 to the first team of the group. Additionally, Serbia secured a narrow victory over Cyprus but suffered a heavy defeat against Russia, in a match where they spent most of the time with ten men.

In the main phase of the tournament, Serbia faced stiff competition. Their Euro 2024 campaign started on a difficult note, as they lost to England 0:1 in the first round. The Whites played defensively, which was expected from the team of Dragan Stojković, setting up in a compact 3-5-1-1 formation. However, their defensive line faltered as early as the 13th minute when Jude Bellingham scored his first Euro goal, which turned out to be the only goal of the match.

Serbian captain Dušan Tadić was controversially benched in their EURO opener, sparking debate over the coach’s decision

Moreover, the match set records for dullness. The opponents recorded the fewest shots in a Euro match since at least 1980, with only 11 attempts. The Balcans outshot the British team with six attempts to five. Combined, both teams managed an xG of just 0.69, which is less than any Premier League match last season. Individually, the numbers were even more dismal: 0.17 xG for Serbia and 0.52 for England.

This match epitomised the creed of Gareth Southgate: caution over flamboyance. For the sake of results, the team spent most of their time behind the ball, even with the attacking talents of Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Bellingham, and Phil Foden. Southgate even left the EPL’s top dispatchers Ollie Watkins and Cole Palmer, who led the league in “goal + assist,” on the bench. The Lions started strongly but focused on maintaining their slender lead instead of pressing their advantage.

At one point, Serbia appealed for a penalty when Aleksandar Mitrović clashed with Kieran Trippier, but referee Daniele Orsato dismissed the incident. Despite this, the White Eagles could have aimed for more. Speaking on the reasons for the loss, Dušan Vlahović admitted that his team showed too much respect to the favourites.

“England are very strong, their results speak for themselves. But in the second half, we saw that we could fight them. We loosened up and could have scored, but the result is fair,”

concluded the Juventus FC forward.

Dragan Stojković stated that his players did not deserve to lose, expressing pride in their efforts and a determination not to give up. However, some of the coach’s tactical decisions raised questions, such as his choice to leave team captain Dušan Tadić on the bench. Tadić himself was unhappy with this decision, voicing his dissatisfaction in a post-match interview.

“I am the leader and captain of the team. I spoke with the coach. I am the best player in this team and should have played all 90 minutes. Everything would have been different if I had started the match. If the coach wants me to play 30 minutes, then so be it,”

said the Fenerbahçe SK midfielder.

Additionally, Serbia lost Filip Kostić in this match. The midfielder felt pain in his knee following a clash with Trent Alexander-Arnold at the end of the first half and left the field in tears. Later, the team’s medical staff confirmed that the player would not play again in the tournament.

Slovenia form guide: W-D-W-W-D-D

Serbia form guide: D-L-W-L-W-L

Slovenia vs Serbia Head-To-Head Record:

  • September 7, 2010: Serbia 1 – 1 Slovenia (UEFA EURO);
  • October 11, 2011: Slovenia 1 – 0 Serbia (UEFA EURO);
  • June 5, 2022: Serbia 4 – 1 Slovenia (UEFA Nations League);
  • June 12, 2022: Slovenia 2 – 2 Serbia (UEFA Nations League).

Slovenia vs Serbia Predicted XI:

Slovenia’s possible starting lineup (4-4-2): Oblak; Karnicnik, Blazic, Bijol, Janza; Stojanovic, Gnezda Cerin, Elsnik, Mlakar; Sporar, Sesko.

Serbia’s possible starting lineup (3-4-2-1): V. Milinkovic-Savic; Veljkovic, Milenkovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, S. Milinkovic-Savic, Gudelj, Mladenovic; Tadic; Vlahovic, Mitrovic.

Statistical preview of the match Slovenia vs Serbia:

  • The Slovenian national team holds 57th place in the FIFA ranking of national squads, while the Serbian collective is ranked 33rd.
  • Slovenia’s First XI average age is 27.2 years, and Serbia’s First XI average age is 28.3 years.
  • Istvan Kovacs has been appointed as the centre referee. The match official has already served 8 games this season, showing an average of 6 yellow cards and also whistles 25 fouls per game. 
  • Slovenians in 2024 are delighting their fans: the team has never lost yet. A total of 5 meetings have been played since the beginning of the year. In June, the Dragons played three matches, gaining one victory.
  • Matjaž Kek’s side have a seven-match unbeaten streak.
  • The Slovenian national team repeated an unusual achievement, which had previously only been achieved by two national teams since 1980 – England and the Netherlands. All 10 Slovenian field players shot at least once on the target in the match against Denmark. This means that the danger to the opponent can come from almost any Slovenian player. 
  • The Serbian team paired with England to set an anti-record for the number of shots on goal in an entire match (11). Stojkovic’s team hit the side of the goal only six times, while England made even fewer attempts – five. 
  • Of the last twelve matches, the Serbs have won exactly a third, with only two of them having official status;
  • For both teams getting to Euro 2024 was a historic event: the last time they were at the continental tournament was 20 years ago. The Serbs made their debut at the European Championship – in 2000, the Yugoslavia national team reached the quarterfinals.
  • In the last 5 games, Serbia conceded an average of 1.40 goals per game and scored an average of 1.00 goals per game. 
  • In the last 5 games, Slovenia conceded an average of 1.00 goals per game and scored an average of 1.60 goals per game.

What has been said before the match:

Adam Gnezda Čerin of Slovenia emphasised the team’s focus on recovery and preparation for their upcoming match against Serbia:

“We’ve been concentrating on regeneration to ensure all players are at their peak fitness. We’ve already begun analysing Serbia and will be ready. I hope we maintain our consistency and play two strong halves like we did in 2022, which was one of our best performances since I’ve been with the national team.”

He also highlighted the significance of the match, describing it as a “Balkan derby” due to the similar mentality and proximity of both teams:

“There will be an extra edge to the game. A win for either side would be a major blow to the opponent, so we all aim to come out on top. We will do everything to achieve that.”

Goalkeeper Predrag Rajković remains optimistic following Serbia’s first match:

“We showed our quality but lacked the final pass. Against Slovenia, we all believe it will be a different story. With all due respect to our rivals, I think we have a better team, but we need to prove it on the field. The outcome will clarify our chances for the round of 16.”

Rajković praised the team’s overall strength, especially the strikers, and expressed confidence in their ability to score multiple goals while maintaining a solid defence:

“I hope we don’t concede and can score two or three goals. We respect the Slovenian team, which is strong.”

He also extended gratitude to the fans, acknowledging their unwavering support:

“Thank you for coming to the stadium and supporting us for 90 minutes. We hear there will be even more support against Slovenia. I promise we will give everything and use every last bit of strength to secure the triumph. A big game awaits us, crucial for our success.”

Slovenia vs Serbia Prediction:

The Slovenian national team showed a better performance at this Euros, having unleashed themselves after conceding a goal to the Danes. We saw a competitive team, which is ready to produce bold and effective football even against such serious opposition as Denmark. The Serbs, on the other hand, played very defensively during the whole game against England, even after conceding a goal. Vlahovic and Co. lacked the character and resilience that would have been essential for Stojkovic’s team to snatch at least some opportunity to score against England. 

Now, a much greater sense of sentiment and intensification is expected: the principled derby promises to be uncompromising, with a lot of duels and challenges in the middle of the pitch. Due to the slight difference in the level of the teams, these matchups often turn out to be two-way – in three of the four face-to-face clashes, both teams have scored. The opponents have a similar playing style, while Slovenia’s current form is not only as good as the Serbs’, but perhaps even better, they should be closer to victory. Matjaz Kek’s men haven’t left the field without a goal in exactly one year – a run of 13 meetings, while the White Eagles have converted in 10 matches in the same stretch. 

Nevertheless, teams tend to gravitate towards a primarily defensive model, relying on physicality. Matjaz Kek opts for a four-defender scheme, while his midfield line also often works in defence. We saw Stankovic operating in a similar way versus Harry Kane and his teammates, where eight players were constantly under pressure from Southgate’s attacking players. The match against Slovenia should be easier, but it will hardly open the game. Especially since this is a match of too much importance, with the result potentially having a direct impact on one of the national team’s progression to the playoffs. The cost of a mistake is too high. And with such viscous and physical football typical for both collectives, we don’t expect a lot of goals. 

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Slovenia will not lose and the match total will be less than 2.5 – Yes. 

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