Slovenia boss warns players about England

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The Independent Football

Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek has warned his players not to be taken in by England's poor World Cup form ahead of tonight's Group C climax.

Fabio Capello's men have collected just two points from the opening clashes with the United States and Algeria, and know anything less than victory at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth could result in an embarrassingly early departure from South Africa.

However, while England have stuttered on the pitch and aired their dirty linen in public off it, Kek insists his side's chances of securing their passage to the last 16 are no better because of that.

He said: "We have seen England's matches and everyone knows and is familiar with football in England.

"We have also seen some video clips from England's qualifiers, and playing against England is always a challenge. It is also filled with huge expectations.

"But please do not believe that we feel better because England might not have played so well so far.

"We will play as we have been playing. For sure, we will try to do our best - we will try not to make mistakes.

"We will try to score a goal - we have scored three goals so far and I don't know why we should change our strategy.

"We have had a very good strategy and this strategy has been confirmed by four points."

Those four points have left Slovenia at the top of the group and knowing a point against England will be enough to book them a first trip to the last 16 in their second World Cup finals.

By contrast, England know they have to win to be sure of a place in the knockout phase of the competition, but defender Bojan Jokic has promised they will have a fight on their hands.

He said: "England have high-quality players and we have respect for them.

"But we have our objective. We want to qualify and we are expecting to achieve our objective."

The two sides completed their preparations with the fall-out from John Terry's outspoken comments still ongoing, although Kek was refusing to get involved.

Indeed, he was doing his best to avoid talking about England altogether at his pre-match press conference.

Asked if he feared a return to form for striker Wayne Rooney, he said: "My thoughts are only for Slovenia and I wouldn't want to make any comment related to our opponent. I have not been following the media.

"England have to go to the second round; Slovenia wish to go to the second round. This is our wish.

"I am just dealing with the problems Slovenia face, not focusing on the problems England face.

"I have great respect for England and their players and their coach. However, my thoughts are devoted only to Slovenia."