Benjamin Verbic scored a late winner as Slovenia secured qualification for the Euro 2024 finals in Germany, but opponent Kazakhstan will have to earn its place through March’s playoffs following the 2-1 loss in Ljubljana on Monday.
Slovenia finished runner-up in qualification Group H behind Denmark on head-to-head record. Its only previous appearance at the continental finals came in 2000, while its last visit to a major tournament was the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Kazakhstan needed victory for a first-ever qualification, but knew it had secured a playoff spot at least before kick-off following their promotion to League B of the 2024-25 Nations League.
Slovenia was awarded a penalty late in the first half after a Video Assistant Referee review when Yan Vorogovskiy fouled Petar Stojanovic in the box. Benjamin Sesko comfortably converted the spot-kick.
Kazakhstan made the perfect start to the second half as Ramazan Orazov scored his first international goal on 48 minutes, ghosting into space in the box as he turned in Maksim Samorodov’s low cross.
Slovenia’s Jaka Bijol had his shot blocked on the line by Islambek Kuat, but the home side got its winner with four minutes remaining when Verbic curled a shot into the corner of the net to spark wild scenes of celebration.
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