|Cologne's Novakovic has been an automatic starter for his country [GALLO/GETTY]
Formerly members of the Yugoslav team, Slovenia – population: 2 million – qualified for the first time since their debut in 2002 courtesy of an away-goals playoff win over Russia (pop: 142 million).
Having also knocked out East European big guns Poland and the Czech Republic on their way to South Africa, 25th-ranked Slovenia have every chance of making the knockout rounds.
Slovenia's teamsheet reads like a who's-not of European football, but coach Matjaz Kek has built his side around a formidable defence, with goals coming from Cologne striker Milivoje Novakovic.
Samir Handanovic (Udinese), Jasmin Handanovic (Mantova), Aleksander Seliga (Sparta Rotterdam).
Miso Brecko (FC Cologne), Bostjan Cesar (Grenoble), Branko Ilic (Lokomotiv Moscow), Matej Mavric-Rozic (Koblenz), Bojan Jokic (Chievo), Marko Suler (Ghent), Suad Filekovic (NK Maribor), Elvedin Dzinic (NK Maribor).
Andraz Kirm (Wisla Krakow), Robert Koren (Unattached), Valter Birsa (AJ Auxerre), Andrej Komac (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Dalibor Stevanovic (Vitesse Arnhem), Aleksander Radosavljevic (Larissa), Rene Krhin (Inter Milan).
Milivoje Novakovic (FC Cologne), Zlatko Dedic (VfL Bochum), Zlatan Ljubijankic (Ghent), Nejc Pecnik (Nacional Funchal), Tim Matavz (Groningen).
Al Jazeera and agencies