Slovenia’s World Cup coach Srecko Katanec and Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy would have plenty in common if they ever met up for a drink.
While McCarthy had his problems with Roy Keane before the tournament started, Katanec had to contend with a carbon-copy situation regarding his best player, Zlatko Zahovic during the group phase.
Zahovic was sent home for publicly criticising Katanec, but that’s where the comparison with McCarthy’s World Cup experience ends.
While the Irish covered themselves in glory, Slovenia lost all three games and never looked like doing anything else.
Their final match against Paraguay summed it all up. They were 1-0 up against 10-men, but still ended up losing - and 3-1 at that.
After endearing themselves to many with their major tournament debut at Euro 2000, they will have to pick up the pieces and rebuild after a far less enjoyable experience in their first World Cup.