In a direct fight for a place in the replay of the European qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup Russia and Slovenia will face this Sunday, October 8, starting at 13h (Brasília time). The clash, which is part of the tenth (final) round of group F, takes place in the Stožice stadium, Ljubljana.
Slovenia’s recent performance
Although mathematics says home owners have a chance to reach second place in the group and thus have the right to compete for a place in the World Cup in a knockout with another team that was in the same situation as their key, the reality is quite different.
A goal in the second finals of the match against England on Thursday, October 5, ended Slovenia’s dream. With the 1-0 defeat, the team was parked in the 14 points (four wins, two draws and three wins). So to survive, it does not depend only on your results. You need to defeat the Scots, but also hope that Slovakia, at home, will not win from Malta.
Overtaking Scotland is even a viable option. After all, in their domains, the Slovenians got three wins and a draw in the previous matches and did not concede a single goal. What makes the possibility of classification practically unviable is the need for Malta to hold Slovakia. Not by the power of the Slovaks, who have only one point more (15) than the Slovenians, but the weakness of the visiting team, who lost eight matches and drew one in the previous nine days suffering 22 goals and scoring only three.
The current form of Scotland
The Scots managed a major victory against Slovakia on Thursday. They scored 1-0 in a game with great dramatic intensity. The Slovaks had an athlete expelled even in the first half (Robert Mak) and suffered intense pressure. They took two balls on the crossbar and saw the goalkeeper Dubravka make spectacular defenses. However, in the 44th minute of the second half, defender Skertel scored a goal against the Scottish team to score three points.
It was not the team’s first win in the closing seconds. This has often happened in the qualifiers, especially in the second round, when after being considered practically out of contention, the Scots won four games and got a draw.
With 17 points (five wins, two draws and two losses), Scotland moved up from fourth to second at the end of the ninth round. However, as the Slovaks can reach 18 points, they will need to defeat the Slovenians this Sunday so they will not have to rely on an improbable zebra from Malta. That’s because in case of a draw tie with Slovakia, the Scots would be at a disadvantage.
History of the clashes between Slovenia and Scotland
The Scots were never beaten by the Slovenes. In four matches, they were two wins and two draws. In the first round of the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup Russia scored 1 to 0.
The prices for Slovenia x Scotland
Although only the victory serves to Scotland, hardly the team will leave to the top of Slovenia from the beginning. It is more likely that the team will close on defense in anticipation of a counterattack and leave it to chance in the second half when most likely Slovakia, who play at the same time against Malta, should have consolidated their victory.