World Cup qualifiers: Milivoje Novakovic's hat-trick helps Slovenia beat Norway 3-0
Milivoje Novakovic hit a hat-trick as Slovenia ended the World Cup hopes of Norway with a 3-0 victory in Maribor.
Last Updated: 11/10/13 10:42pm
Milivoje Novakovic hit a hat-trick as Slovenia emphatically ended the World Cup hopes of Norway with a 3-0 victory in Maribor.
Novakovic struck twice inside two minutes inside the opening quarter of an hour before completing his treble with a close-range finish early in the second half.
The win means Slovenia sit third in Group E heading into the final round of qualifiers on Tuesday, a point behind Iceland in the race to finish second to Switzerland, who sealed their qualification to Brazil with victory over Albania.
Slovenia finish their campaign with an away game in Switzerland, while Iceland will bid to seal second place and a berth in the play-offs when they travel to Norway, who can now finish no higher than fourth in the six-team group.
Thirteen minutes were on the clock when the hosts went ahead with one of their first meaningful attacks, Miso Brecko the provider with a cross from the right that 34-year-old Novakovic headed in.
Novakovic, who plies his trade at Japan's Omiya Ardija on loan from Cologne, doubled his tally after 15 minutes when Andraz Kirm picked him out six yards from goal and the striker did the rest with a composed low finish.
Novakovic turned provider a minute into the second half when his cross was met with a thumping volley by Kirm but Rune Jarstein tipped the ball away.
The third goal did arrive within moments, however, 49 minutes showing on the clock when Ales Mertelj's centre from the left was tucked home by Novakovic from close range.