MX23RW : Friday, July 30 10:13:00| >> :600:4844619:4844619:
Mar 30, 2021 at 5pm UK at Neo GSP
Pittas (42')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Ilicic (38'), Kurtic (47')

Preview: Cyprus vs. Slovenia - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's World Cup qualification clash between Cyprus and Slovenia, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Slovenia head into their World Cup qualifying fixture with Cyprus looking for the victory which would ensure that they remain in the top two of Group H.

Having earned a draw with Slovakia on matchday one, Cyprus have the opportunity to move ahead of their opponents with success in Nicosia.

Match preview

Slovenia coach Matjaz Kek pictured on March 27, 2021© Reuters

Before the start of this group, there was a feeling that Russia, Slovenia and Slovakia would be competing in a three-horse race to finish behind probable winners Croatia.

However, Slovenia's surprise win over the 2018 finalists on Wednesday has changed everything, leaving each of the four nations with the belief that they can still progress in top spot.

Even though Matjaz Kek witnessed his side lose in Russia at the weekend, two of their toughest fixtures are out of the way with the team still occupying second position.

With Cyprus and a home fixture versus Slovakia to come, there is an opportunity for Slovenia to heap the pressure on their rivals as they bid to earn their third-ever appearance at the tournament.

Saturday's 2-1 reverse ended a nine-match unbeaten streak in all competitions, a period which had lasted since November 2019.

As far as Cyprus are concerned, they will only take the positives from earning a point from fixtures against Slovakia and Croatia.

Despite succumbing 1-0 in Rijeka at the weekend, conceding just one goal to two of the better teams in this group should stand them in good stead over the next eight months.

The team's lack of a goal threat is no secret with just four strikes coming from their 10 fixtures since international football resumed in September.

Nevertheless, they defeated Luxembourg as recently as November, a result which now looks far more impressive now that Republic of Ireland have lost to the same opponents.

Only Marios Ilia and Grigoris Kastanos have been on the scoresheet in their last seven matches.

Cyprus World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • D
  • L

Cyprus form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L

Slovenia World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • W
  • L

Slovenia form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L

Team News

Cyprus coach Nikos Kostenoglou during the match on March 24, 2021© Reuters

Neophytos Michael is likely to start between the sticks for Cyprus after Demetrious Demetriou sustained an injury at the weekend.

While Pieros Sotiriou could also be recalled in place of Ilia in the final third, the remainder of the side may remain the same.

Despite the defeat in Russia, Kek is unlikely to make many alterations to his Slovenia starting lineup.

Nejc Skubic is an option at right-back, while Amedej Vetrih will be regarded as an alternative in the centre of the pitch.

Former Newcastle United youngster Haris Vuckic is also in contention for an opportunity in attack.

Cyprus possible starting lineup:
Michael; Kousoulos, Soteriou, Laifis; Psaltis, Artymatas, Kyriakou, Ioannou; Tzionis, Sotiriou, Pittas

Slovenia possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Skubic, Blazic, Mevlja, Balkovec; Vetrih, Kurtic, Lovric; Ilicic, Sporar, Zajc

SM words green background

We say: Cyprus 0-2 Slovenia

While we expect a competitive encounter in Nicosia, supporters will not necessarily see many goals. Nevertheless, Slovenia's extra quality in the final third should shine through at some stage, earning them a crucial win in the context of the group.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:curl

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Friday's key events

· The athletics schedule begins, with 100m sprinter Dina Asher-Smith among the names in action on the opening day. The men's 10,000m final concludes the action, with Team GB's Sam Atkin and Marc Scott taking part in the absence of 2012 and 2016 champion Sir Mo Farah (1am-2.30pm)

· Victoria Thornley is Team GB's representative in the women's single sculls final (1.33am)
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· Luke Greenbank has very realistic ambitions of picking up a medal in the men's 200m backstroke final (2.50am)
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· Bryony Page will be looking to repeat her 2016 heroics in the women's event (5am-7.30pm)

· Bradley Forbes-Cryans will be looking to emulate Rio gold medallist Joe Clarke in the men's kayak event (6am-9am)

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