The appearance of captain Bojan Jokić is also doubtful, due to injury, which is why temporary coach Igor Benedejčič has called up Andraž Struna, who plays for the Cypriot club Anorthosis. It was already clear that there will be no Jan Oblak and no Kevin Kampl, who has retired from international duty. The Slovene camp is not familiar with the reasons for his decision, or else they are simply refusing to talk about it, but they have commented that a player of his quality would certainly be very useful for the Slovene team.
Krhin probably without the captain's armband
Because of Josip Iličić’s suspension for the Friday match due to a red card and Jokić probably being unable to play, the captain's armband would have most probably been handed to Rene Krhin, judging by the criteria of the number of appearances for the national team. But last month this 28 year old ended up on the Nantes bench. Before that, Krhin had started 8 out of 9 matches in Ligue 1, and he came on only once as a substitute for just 9 minutes in the last four rounds of the French championship. But he did play the entire cup match for his club.
In the current lineup, the skipper's role undoubtedly belongs to Iličić, who once again dazzled in front of journalists with his relaxed bearing, talkativeness and sincerity (read the interview with him on Tuesday morning). But Jojo, who exploded in Seria A between both national team's actions, and scored 3 goals and 3 assists, now has to miss the Friday's match with Norway because of his red card suspension.
We have reached a situation that no one wanted
Someone else will have to take over Iličić's creativity in Stožice. This will probably be Miha Zajc, who stunned during the weekend and scored a goal for Empoli. Now he has to do the business for the national team. ‘We have reached a situation that no one wanted. But we need to get back up and win both matches,’ was the resolute comment of the midfielder. He took a look at Friday’s opponents, the Norwegians, who, with nine points, are top of group 3, alongside the Bulgarians. They won the first match against Slovenia in Oslo (1:0 ). Slovenia is bottom of the group, with only one point. ‘The Norwegians are a very good team, physically well prepared. We need to be more aggressive, more dangerous in attack, and this will make defence easier.’
The national team will now have three days of practice in the national football centre in Brdo pri Kranju. On Thursday afternoon they will play a practice match at the Stožice Stadium in Ljubljana. Temporary coach Benedejčič has the task to put together an attacking lineup that will ensure two wins for Slovenia and thus to prevent Slovenia from being eliminated as one of the more exotic football nations.