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Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Sunday, 13 June 2010 16:28 UK

World Cup 2010: Matjaz Kek happy with 'mental victory'

The Slovenia team celebrate

Highlights - Algeria 0-1 Slovenia

Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek says his side's 1-0 win over Algeria in their opening World Cup match in Polokwane on Sunday is a boost to their self-belief.

Robert Koren's late goal, shortly after Algeria substitute Abdelkader Ghezzal had been sent off, gave Slovenia their first ever World Cup victory.

It means they top Group C after England drew 1-1 with USA on Saturday.

"It was a mental victory," said Kek. "We wanted to win so much so it's great for our confidence to get that win."

Captain Koren's winning goal owed somewhat to Slovenia's good fortune as Algerian keeper Faouzi Chaouchi badly misjudged the flight of the speculative dipping shot and allowed to ball to beat him and find the far corner of the net.

Algeria's Abdelkader Ghezzal

Algeria's Ghezzal receives red card

It was the second costly goalkeeping error in as many Group C games following Robert Green's fumble which led to Clint Dempsey's equaliser for the USA against England in Rustenburg on Saturday.

"I was just lucky to see it go in like that," admitted former West Brom midfielder Koren.

Prior to Ghezzal's sending off in the 72nd minute and Koren's goal seven minutes later, the game had been a dire affair with both side's struggling to create chances.

Both seemed nervous, leading to numerous errors throughout a game which may prove decisive in either's hopes of claiming an unexpected place in the last 16.


Kek felt that the quality of the playing surface at the the newly built Peter Mokaba Stadium, which partly consists of artificial turf, was an influential factor in the game.

"I do not agree with this turf," said Kek. "It's no excuse, it's the same for Algeria as well. But it is a different game on this surface."

Slovenia next play the USA on 18 June before finishing their group campaign against England five days later.

They will be hoping to avoid the same fate that befell them in their only other World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea where they failed to gain a single group point and fell at the first hurdle.

Slovenia's Robert Koren

Koren puts Slovenia in front

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see also
Highlights - Algeria 0-1 Slovenia
13 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup day three photos
13 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
'Sorry' Green vows to bounce back
13 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
James criticises World Cup ball
02 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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