Switzerland vs. Slovenia: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview
Switzerland vs. Slovenia, St. Jakob Park, Basel
Tuesday 15 October 2013, 7 p.m. (BST)
Watch: Highlights on Sky Sports 1, 10:15 p.m.
Live Stream: Check Live on Sat listings.
Switzerland are among the few countries who can take it easy during the final round of European qualifying matches. With a place at the 2014 World Cup already booked, Ottmar Hitzfeld's men can relax ahead of Slovenia's visit to St. Jakob Park.
Things aren't so straightforward for the visitors. Currently sitting third in Group E, Srecko Katanec's team are one point behind Iceland, who occupy the play-off spot. Iceland face a difficult task away at Norway, suggesting that Slovenia have a real chance of escaping the group if they can push for one final result.
Of course, had Switzerland held onto their 4-1 lead over Iceland in September, things would have been closer still. Despite smashing through the group stage with an unbeaten run, Iceland's ridiculous comeback in the 4-4 draw may prove to be the vital result in the battle for a play-off place.
The magnitude of Slovenia's task is amplified when you consider the unbeaten form Switzerland have enjoyed across the entire qualification process. Recent away wins in Albania and Norway are backed up with a friendly victory over Brazil, which is certainly no mean feat.
When the Swiss travelled to Ljubljana in Sept. 2012, the quality of the visitors' team overruled a gutsy home side. Goals from Granit Xhaka and Gokhan Inler ensured a 2-0 triumph in a match that saw Tranquillo Barnetta receive two yellow cards for the Swiss, per FIFA.
Still, they managed to come out on top.
The home crowd is likely to be in jovial mood ahead of this one. With no pressure on Hitzfeld's side, Swiss fans can enjoy the talents of Xherdan Shaqiri and friends in celebratory fashion. A international home debut is also likely to be given to Michael Lang after he netted on his debut against Albania, per UEFA.
Slovenia will also look to their big guns for a result, and right now, there's nobody more impressive than Milivoje Novakovič.
The 34-year-old forward currently represents Omiya Ardija in Japan's J. League Division 1, but at 6'3", he offers Slovenia a real outlet when moving forward. Novakovič's incredible hat-trick during the must-win encounter with Norway saw Katanec's team give themselves a glimmer of hope, per UEFA.
Novakovič's experience is perfect for a game of this magnitude. If teammates such as Miso Brecko, Andraz Kirm and Ales Mertelj's can continue providing the veteran forward with decent service, Slovenia have a real chance of getting a positive result.
Who will win this match?
The towering striker's two goals inside 15 minutes settled nerves during the team's last fixture, and if Katanec utlises the same 4-5-1 formation, Slovenia can put their hosts on the floor with a quick start. With the Swiss party already rolling, this could make all the difference.
Plenty to play for in Basel, but if Slovenia overcome Hitzfeld's qualified team, it will surely be classed alongside the most impressive results from the entire group stage.
Katanec will have one eye on events in Oslo, but Slovenia must exert 100 percent concentration if they are going to grab something from a formidable opponent.
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