Slovenia will be World Cup crowd pleasers, says Kek

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LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia should play entertaining football even if it means losing all their World Cup matches, coach Matjaz Kek said on Tuesday after naming his final 23-man squad for the tournament in South Africa.

Young midfielder Rene Krhin and striker Tim Matavz have been included and Kek underscored he would insist on an approach which should keep all spectators on the edge of their seats.

"As far as I am concerned, we can lose all three group matches as long as we play entertaining football to please the crowds and get them on their feet," Kek told Slovenia's Ekipa website ( "We don't want to win the sympathy of neutral fans as underdogs, we want to win their hearts by playing an attractive game and presenting ourselves in the best possible way.

"The most difficult thing in football is to play with an eye-catching style and win games but that's what we will try to do because playing a destructive game with 10 men behind the ball is not my philosophy."

Kek, who steered the Slovenians to their second World Cup as an independent nation, left all five strikers in the final roster, with midfielders Darjan Matic and Mirnes Sisic and defender Dejan Kelhar the last three players to be chopped.

Forwards Matavz and Nejc Pecnik will face stiff competition for a place in the starting line-up, as will 20-year-old Inter Milan midfielder Krhin.

All three will probably get a chance to impress when Slovenia take on New Zealand in their final warm-up on home soil in Maribor on Friday before they fly to Johannesburg.

The Slovenians beat Italian third division side South Tyrol 3-0 in their only other warm-up on Saturday and Kek was not worried by his team's lackluster display in the opening half.

"We are at that stage of the build-up when we are pushing ourselves to the limit in training so some things did not work out quite the way we wanted in the first half," he said.

"I had a word with the players but overall I am very happy with their commitment and how the match developed."

Slovenia open their Group C campaign against Algeria in Polokwane on June 13, they take on United States in Johannesburg on June 18 and play England in Port Elizabeth five days later.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Sonia Oxley)