Slovenia is the smallest nation in the 2010 World Cup, with a population of just 2 million people. Although they are from a small nation, Slovenia is far from a small sized team. Loaded with size, Slovenia will look for success in their second World Cup appearance. Their first showing in 2002 was a major disappointment for a team that felt they were ready to compete at the highest level.

Slovenia looked as though they wouldn't even be able to qualify for South Africa last spring as they were in the bottom half of their group. Four straight wins without conceding a goal helped Slovenia move into second place and earned them a play-off with Russia.

The heavy underdog against the mighty Russians, Slovenia somehow found a way to beat the Russians to earn a spot in South Africa.

It seems nations should stop overlooking Slovenia, it was considered a surprise that they qualified for both Euro 2000 and World Cup 2002. It is obvious Slovenia is a nation on the rise in world soccer and they appear to be here to stay.

The team is lead by former Slovenia U-16 National team coach, Matjaz Kek. Kek prides the fact that he knows the team so well as he watched them grow in the youth program.

Led by striker Milivoje Novakovic, who averaged 1 goal every 3 games in qualifying, it will be interesting to see if Slovenia will thrive as the underdog of the tournament and have a successful showing in their second World Cup.

Coach-

Matjaz Kek

The former youth coach will know his World Cup squad very well.

Key Players-

Robert Koren

The dynamic West Brom midfielder leads by example and will need to be creative for Slovenia.

Samir Handanovic

The agile, likely starting keeper will be competing with his own cousin for the job.

Milivoje Novakovic

The veteran striker has been at the top of scoring charts in both Bulgaria and Germany.

2010 World Cup Schedule:

Slovenia vs. Algeria, Polokwane, South Africa, June 13th

Slovenia vs. USA, Johanesburg, South Africa, June 18th

Slovenia vs. England, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, June 23rd

Next Up:

South Africa