Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODPASTIMES -

SLO­VAKIA have earned a place in the World Cup fi­nals for the first time as an in­de­pen­dent na­tion since the divi­sion from Cze­choslavakia in 1992.

And iron­i­cally they left their Czech ri­vals, one of the pre-qual­i­fy­ing favourites, be­hind them in earn­ing their World Cup ticket.

Un­der­dogs Slo­vakia turned out to be the one of the ma­jor sur­prises of World Cup qual­i­fy­ing.

Now the na­tion of 5.5 mil­lion peo­ple are looking for­ward to up­set­ting the odds in South Africa when the squad led by coach Vladimir Weiss will again start as one of the out­siders.

Weiss, 45, is the man cred­ited with Slo­vakia's suc­cess story.

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