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Matavž announces himself with hat-trick

Slovenia 5-1 Faroe Islands
FC Groningen youngster Tim Matavž's first three goals at international level set Slovenia on course for a comprehensive win in Group C.

Tim Matavž in action for Slovenia
Tim Matavž in action for Slovenia ©Getty Images

Tim Matavž got off the mark at international level in style, scoring three times as Slovenia overwhelmed the Faroe Islands 5-1 in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying.

Two goals from Matavž set the hosts on their way prior to half-time and the 21-year-old rounded off his hat-trick midway through the second period. Milivoje Novakovič also got in on the act with a penalty 18 minutes from time before substitute Zlatko Dedič made it 5-0. Another replacement, Christian Mouritsen, reduced the arrears in added time but it was scant consolation for a Faroe Islands side who remain bottom of Group C.

"It's not always easy when you're such big favourites," said Slovenia coach Matjaž Kek. "Fortunately we were calm and tactically sound from the start so I have to be proud of all the guys, especially Tim Matavž. He showed Slovenia that in the not too distant future he will be a great force."

Winning his fifth cap, the FC Groningen youngster gave ample evidence of his talents in Ljubljana. Matavž broke the deadlock midway through the first half when he rose to head in Mišo Brečko's cross and 11 minutes later he demonstrated his strength with the ball at his feet, dribbling into the heart of the Faroese defence before firing into the far corner.

Robert Koren threatened to take a share of the limelight when he rattled the upright from long range but Matavž was soon back in centre stage, heading in from close range on 65 minutes. The visitors could not muster a response. When they kept Matavž quiet, strike partner Josip Iličič took the initiative.

It was a foul on the US Città di Palermo midfielder, from Hendrik Rubeksen, that earned a spot kick which Novakovič converted at the second time of asking. Dedič was also indebted to Iličič for his effort six minutes from time, and minds were already perhaps on Tuesday's trip to Estonia when Mouritsen made it 5-1 just before the final whistle.