Birsa rues 'rotten' exit
Slovenia's Valter Birsa was left reeling after defeat to England sent his team out of the World Cup.
Last Updated: 24/06/10 7:26pm
Slovenia striker Valter Birsa was left reeling after defeat to England sent his team tumbling out of the World Cup finals.
Matjaz Kek's side had led Group C going into the match and Slovenia were on course to make an unexpected passage into the knockout phase.
But a 1-0 reverse in Port Elizabeth, allied to the USA's last-gasp win over Algeria, relegated Slovenia into third place and broke the nation's hearts in the process.
The loss to the Three Lions was made all the more galling by the chances wasted by Kek's charges, who were only denied a draw thanks to some magnificent last-ditch defending from John Terry and Matthew Upson.
A win over Algeria and a draw with the USA put Slovenia in a strong position to quality and Birsa was inconsolable after seeing all his team's good work undone.
"It has been a rotten scenario," said the Auxerre ace in L'Equipe. "Being eliminated in that way is so bad. In the first half, we remained too defensive.
"In the second half, it was better, but the referee blew all the time away and didn't let us play."
The 23-year-old recognised his colleagues had put themselves in a previously unthinkable position of being on the verge of making round two, but he could not help but feel disappointed to have lost to a below-par England side.
He added: "It was nice for us to be able to fight for qualification until the end in such a group.
"But we felt we could have made it. That is why we are sad. The English players are not impressive."