Slovenia had to settle for a place in the World Cup qualifying play-offs
despite a 3-0 win away to San Marino in Group Three.
Slovakia's 1-0 win in Poland meant they took top spot in the pool and consigned
Slovenia to a two-legged tie to reach the finals in South Africa next year, with
the play-off draw taking place on Monday.
Milivoje Novakovic gave Slovenia a 24th-minute lead and goals from Dalibor
Stevanovic and Marko Suler in the second period wrapped up a comfortable if not
especially emphatic victory.
The visitors had to wait until the 14th minute to create the first opening when
Stevanovic tried his luck, but San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncini was equal to
The hosts had nine men behind the ball in their usual damage limitation
exercise, but in the 24th minute Slovenia edged in front when Novakovic headed
home Valter Birsa's corner from the right.
The margin should have been greater than 1-0 by the break with Zlatko Dedic
guilty of two glaring misses.
Novakovic almost added a second right at the start of the second period with a
header just wide and a Stevanovic shot struck the post in the 52nd minute.
The lead was finally doubled in the 67th minute when Bojan Jokic got the ball
on the left and picked out Stevanovic in the box, and the Vitesse Arnhem
midfielder applied the cool finish.
The third goal came nine minutes from the end when Novakovic's free-kick from
20 yards came back off the post and Suler was in the right place to tap it in.