Slovenia Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Final Verdict

Slovenia Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Final Verdict article feature image
Credit:

BJ Cunningham, Cyriel Klitsie/Action Network. Pictured: Benjamin Sesko.

Slovenia are back in the Euros for just the second time in their history, but they are big underdogs to make it to the knockout stage.

Slovenia were incredibly impressive during qualifying, finishing atop their qualifying group over Denmark. With that being said, the rest of their qualifying group included Kazakhstan, Finland, Northern Ireland and San Marino, so it wasn't exactly the most difficult road to get to the Euros. In terms of talent and tactics, they are a clear step behind the other three teams in this group, so it would take a lot for them to get out of this group.

Tactical Analysis

Slovenia are the most basic possession team in this entire tournament. They play a very simple 4-4-2 straight out of Roy Hodgson’s coaching manual and primarily rely on long balls up to the strikers to win second balls.

When they do build up, it’s normally out of a 2-4 or 4-2 type of shape with the ball circulating side to side until they can find gaps in the opponent's defensive block to create a passing triangle. They utilize a lot of overlapping fullbacks down the wings to create chances via crosses as well.

The biggest advantage that Slovenia will have over most teams is on set pieces. Since they have very little control of the ball, they put a big time emphasis on being efficient on set plays. During qualifying, they averaged the most shots of anyone on set pieces, which will be big in their chances of qualifying for the knockout stage.

When they are out of possession, it’s a very basic 4-4-2 structure out of possession from the Slovenians. They are an incredibly passive team and one of the few teams in this tournament that play a true low block, but they really aren’t that good in it because they truly lack the talent to compete with some of the top teams.

They do not have a single player in their midfield playing in one of Europe’s top five league and Jaka Bijol of Udinese is the only one of their defense that is playing in a top league. Their saving grace is they do have a really good goalkeeper in Jan Oblak who has been playing at Atletico Madrid for almost a decade now, but he had one of his worst shot-stopping seasons in a while this season, putting up a -3.2 post shot xG +/-.

The lack of talent created a problem when they faced Denmark specifically because the Danes were able to successfully create overloads both out wide and in the middle of the pitch. You have to be good at defending crosses if you are going to play a low block and Slovenia are not. In a very weak group, they allowed 5.35 accurate crosses per 90 minutes, which is the second-highest in the Euro field and will be a big problem when they face Serbia.

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data via WyScout

Final Verdict

While overall the Slovenia squad is lacking talent, they do have a great striker in Benjamin Sesko. He currently plays for RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga and has been on a tear over the second half of the season. In the 13 matches that he started from January 27th on, he scored 11 goals and is the main focal point for Slovenia’s offense.

Outside of Sesko there really isn't much talent across this squad, which makes it hard to compete. In their two matches against Denmark in qualifying, they lost the expected goals battle a combined 2.69 to 0.53 and they also have to play a cross-heavy team in Serbia who they struggled defending them in qualifying.

The market has Slovenia priced correctly, so I am passing on any bets.

Final Verdict: Pass

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