If you have been to attract up a listing of gamers who should be going to the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, Jan Oblak could be close to the highest.
The Atletico Madrid and Slovenia primary, who completed third in FIFA’s The Finest Goalkeeper awards for 2020, has been in implausible kind this season for each membership and nation.
His membership facet Atletico Madrid are sitting fairly on the prime of LaLiga Santander and have challenged for titles all through his time within the Spanish capital.
Along with his nation, although, Oblak is but to go to a significant match. Slovenia have not certified for such a contest since making it to the 2010 World Cup, earlier than the 28-year-old’s worldwide profession started.
Slovenia’s brilliant begin to World Cup qualifying
This might all be about to vary, although. Slovenia have simply gained their opening World Cup qualifier in opposition to Croatia 1-0, bringing Oblak to 6 clear sheets in a row with the nationwide facet.
A goalkeeper of Oblak‘s ilk would naturally have aspirations of taking part in in soccer’s biggest stage – the World Cup – and his latest kind would recommend that he has an excellent likelihood of qualification this marketing campaign.
Slovenia bought off to the right begin of their qualifying group and, once we have a look at the opposite sides in there with them, you’d fancy their possibilities of reserving their place in Qatar subsequent yr.
The Slovenians will really feel they will progress from a gaggle the place the opposite groups are Croatia, Malta, Cyprus, Slovakia and Russia.
The inclusion of a world-class participant could make the distinction when bidding to play in main tournaments and the added confidence of getting a participant of Oblak‘s high quality between the sticks will set Matjaz Kek‘s Slovenian facet in good stead.
We have seen prior to now how one prime participant could make the distinction in a nationwide facet’s fortunes, with two latest examples being Gareth Bale with Wales and Cristiano Ronaldo with Portugal.
An unimaginable dream?
Only a few would disagree that Oblak deserves to characteristic in essentially the most prestigious match in soccer.
Sadly for Oblak, Slovenia fell to a 2-1 defeat in opposition to Russia, offering a well timed reminder that qualification will likely be an extended and enduring effort.
Let’s examine if he and Slovenia could make it.