Matjaž Kek is aware of the fine line that separates euphoria from tragedy: “Why talk about euphoria? We still have three games to go…”
Slovenia is in Belfast tonight to try to take the next big step towards Euro 2024. After a great performance against Finland (3:0), many fans are convinced that the Slovenian national team cannot slip up. Euphoria? In a country on the sunny side of the Alps, you could say that it is already showing its concrete shapes. A Matjaž Kek remains one of those who have not yet found themselves in its grip. Matjaž Kek calms his passions; he is too experienced to say hop first and jump later. To put his hands in the air 300 metres before the finish line…
In Northern Ireland, where tonight’s match kicks off at 20.45 Slovenian time, Matjaž Kek stressed that he fully understands the fans and the atmosphere that has been created in the land on the sunny side of the Alps. But at the same time, he added that euphoria from tragedies are separated by a very thin line, and both do not have a long shelf life in sport. “Tragedy can quickly turn into something else, and the same goes for euphoria,” Matjaž Kek admitted that he hasn’t (yet) completely erased from his mind the black scenario in which Slovenia would be left out of Euro 2024, although there is no doubt that he believes in his head and is confident that his charges will succeed.
Matjaž Kek: “The main players are the players on the pitch”
“Against Finland, we did what we all wanted to do. We in the national team and you who follow us in one way or another. But now we need to be smart enough to see the next game as equally important, equally big, and to go into it even more motivated. It would be foolish of us to fly after a win against the Finns and think that the Northern Irish will be worse off because they have no chance of success. We know very well that Slovenia has not even scored in Belfast so far. So why talk about euphoria? Three games to go, three steps to the end of qualification…” said Matjaž Kek before the showdown on the Island.
The expert from Maribor admitted that football players are the ones who can make a nation happy. The selector is indeed already leading them, but on the pitch, where everything begins and ends, the players have the main say. Matjaž Kek believes that the generation that has not yet had a taste of the big competition will be up to the challenge at the end of the qualifiers, as well as to the pressure, which is – clearly – increasing.
“It will be the boys who will sign the final result. We have been together for a long time, we all know why. This is a Slovenia that has its own character, that has its own signature, and the main players are the players on the pitch. We are aware that there are crucial matches coming up, the pulse is maybe a little bit higher, but I accept that, that’s good. You can’t care at times like this, but you have to stay focused, and that will be very important this time,” said Matjaž Kek ahead of the eighth qualifying match for the tournament in Germany.
This text was automatically translated using AI.