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Slovenia releases roster for U.S. friendly


Photo by Joe Toth/

Slovenia announced its squad for its Nov. 15 friendly against the United States, and while there are some familiar names on the roster, perhaps the most recognizable one is missing.

Captain and Hull City midfielder Robert Koren will not participate in the match, but the two players who scored for Slovenia against the United States in the 2010 World Cup, Valter Birsa and Zlatan Ljubijankič, were called in.

Defenders Bostjan Cesar and Bojan Jokic, two of Michael Bradley's teammates at Chievo Verona, will be with Slovenia for the match, and Udiense goalkeeper Samir Handanovic will stand between the posts for new manager Slavisa Stojanovic, who also called in a pair of Under-21 players for his roster. 

Here is the squad the United States will go up against next Tuesday:

GOALKEEPERS – Samir Handanovic (Udinese), Jasmin Handanovic (NK Maribor), Vid Belec (Crotone)

DEFENDERS - Miso Brecko (FC Koln), Bostjan Cesar (Chievo), Branko Ilic (Lokomotiv Moscow), Bojan Jokic (Chievo), Matej Mavric Rozic (KSV Superfund), Miral Samardžić (Sheriff Tiraspol), Marko Å uler (Gent)

MIDFIELDERS Armin Bačinovič (Palermo), Josip Iličič (Palermo), Andraz Kirm (Wisla Krakow), Rene Krhin (FC Bologna), Dejan Lazarevic (Padova), Darijan Matič (Kryvbas Kryvyi Rih), Ales Mertelj (NK Maribor), Dare Pass (Olimpija Ljubljana)

FORWARDS – Valter Birsa (Genoa), Zlatko Heir (Bochum), Zlatan Ljubijankič (Gent), Tim Matavž (PSV Eindhoven), Nejc Pecnik (FC Krylya Sovetov).


What do you think of the squad? Happy to hear Koren isn't playing? Think the USA will win?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I don’t expect a win maybe a tie slovenia is a beateble team, i wish jk would play the full team again i have an ixea of what the better players are and for sure altidore, dempsey, shea Donovan torres adu chandler bocanegra onyewu and lijah…im sure this will be the team in the qualifiers but vs slovenia i expect another strong defensive performance with a poor attacking performance becuase edu,or beckerman arnt good enough to distribute the ball or to hold it under pressure so shea was doing nothing but defend in the france game thanks to the center midfielders they couldnt get a splid pass to him oh well

  2. If you’re concerned about what kind of quality the proud, tiny nation of Slovenia can produce, I respectfully suggest you look in the stands during the game. I visited the capital last summer. While I didn’t see much in the way of soccer culture, I did see vast herds of stunning women. Maybe that’s the secret! Did Soccernomics mention that?

  3. hell Denmark and Sweden with populations of 5million and 9 million are pretty decent football countries and have done quite well in the Euros and the WC

  4. The book Soccernomics addresses this topic quite a bit. If you haven’t read it, I’d recommend it. It’s certainly A factor and it’s certainly not the ONLY factor.

  5. If population was a significant indicator, China, India, and Indonesia would rule the soccer world.

    The Netherlands and Uruguay are not exactly top 20 ranked nations by population.

  6. How much does population size matter in international soccer? The common response to ‘how did the US lose to x’ is that they have a strong soccer culture, we don’t, our best players play xyz sports, etc., but how about Brazil? Gigantic AND a great soccer culture. Shouldn’t they be able to consistently be better than every European country?

    I guess it kind of raises the question ‘what does winning a world cup show’? Is it that you have the best talent development? Seems like not, because rich countries would have significant advantages in this system. Does it mean that your country is just biologically better at sports? …probably not… I think the best way to put it is ‘people who consider themselves ethnically_______ are better collectively at soccer than anybody else’.

    With the Brazil example, I think the best way to look at it is divide Brazil into 5 countries. Is there a drop-off? Sure, but to what extent? Brazil has such amazing depth that there would be diminishing utility loss.

  7. It will be interesting to see how the US schemes to give up the early goal and chase the game against Slovenia. Should make for compelling television.

  8. He is quality, but (like Ramires) my perception of him will always be shaped by how he got bullied by a Yank. His cowering (in my opinion) at the near post as Donovan ran right at him was pretty weak.

  9. Love the picture. Not only because Edu has that “i think i’m about to score in a world cup” look, but check out the look on DeMerit’s grill!!! I think we call that an O face.

  10. Think the USA will win?

    Considering the way things are going under JK – the transition continues – I don’t expect a result in either game.


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