MARIBOR/LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor said he had made good on a promise to clean the team’s boots after Wednesday’s victory over Russia earned them a place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“I just cleaned the players’ shoes but I admit I did not clean them thoroughly,” Pahor told TV Slovenia after coming from the dressing room.
Pahor said last month he would “clean shoes” if Slovenia managed to come through in the playoffs, which they did after a 1-0 win over Russia saw them to victory on the away goals rule.
Pahor watched the match in the company of Slovenian President Danilo Turk, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Russian billionaire and Roman Abramovich, owner of English Premier League club Chelsea.
Car horns blew in Slovenia’s second largest city Maribor, where the match took place, and in the capital Ljubljana, after the country managed to qualify for the World Cup finals for the second time since its independence in 1991 and first since 2002.
“Champions, champions, champions,” shouted President Turk to a 5,000-strong crowd outside the Maribor stadium.
Celebrations were expected to continue long into the night across a country with a population of only two million.
“I appeal to all teachers, professors, employers, not to be angry if some of their students and employees are late to school and work tomorrow,” TV commentator Sasa Jerkovic said.