Slovakia is among the least experienced teams to qualify for this year's World Cup in South Africa, playing in a major international tournament for the first time since splitting with Czechoslovakia in 1993. But opponents should be cautious because the Slovaks still have a successful past.
Slovakia was part of Czechoslovakia when the country reached the World Cup final in 1934 and '62, losing to Italy and Brazil, respectively. And Slovaks played a vital role on a Czechoslovak team that won the European Championship in 1976.
Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss could hardly be called a newcomer. When Czechoslovakia reached the quarterfinals at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, he was there in his role of creative midfielder. Since Weiss took charge as coach in June 2008, he has enforced discipline and hard work, and the results started to indicate that the Slovaks could be optimistic about their football future after all.