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Slovenia are a perfect test for Euros says O'Neill

By Graham Luney

Published 24/12/2015

Final countdown: Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill
Final countdown: Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill

Michael O'Neill feels Slovenia are the perfect opponents for his Northern Ireland side ahead of the Euro 2016 finals.

O'Neill's men will face Slovenia next March as part of their preparations for the tournament in France.

The friendly will take place at Windsor Park on Monday, March 28 (kick-off 7.45pm).

Slovenia, who lost to Ukraine in the play-offs for the Euro 2016 finals after finishing third behind England and Switzerland in their qualifying group, will provide a stern test, according to O'Neill.

The former Shamrock Rovers boss said: "Slovenia are an excellent choice for us.

"They played Ukraine in the play-offs and while they lost 2-0 in Ukraine they drew 1-1 with them at home and played well. They are a good side."

The Slovenian team has a global reach, with some of their players plying their trade as far afield as Japan. Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan, Italy), defenders Bojan Jokic (Villareal, Spain) and Bostjan Cesar (Chievo, Italy) plus midfielders Valter Birsa (Chievo) and Andraz Kirm (Omonia, Cyprus) all have extensive international experience, with an average of 78 caps between them.

Milivoje Novakovic, who now plays for Nagoya Grampus in Japan, starred for many years in Germany's Bundesliga with 1FC Koln.

Belfast Telegraph

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