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Euro 2020 Preview - Slovakia

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🇸🇰 Slovakia 🇸🇰

After making their tournament debut in 2016, Slovakia enter Euro 2020 looking to build on their growth as a national team as they continue their journey to become one of the regulars at major international tournaments.



Road to Euro 2020
The Falcons were a bit too inconsistent to secure qualification through their qualifying group. In the end a draw and defeat to Wales saw them finish third by a single point, but Slovakia still managed to advance through the play-offs by getting past both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the playoffs.



What to Expect
Stefan Tarkovic replaced Pavel Hapal as manager in October 2020 following a poor showing in the Nations League. It appears he's already established the the shape he desires from his team by focusing on defensive solidarity and a clinical counter attacking threat. They have made an unbeaten start to World Cup qualifying with a win and two draws in March 2021.

Starting Lineup
Stefan Tarkovic is an advocate of the 4-1-4-1 formation.

Martin Dúbravka is most likely to start in goal now that he has returned from his lengthy injury. Slovakia experimented with Marek Rodak, Dušan Kuciak and Dominik Greif in his absence but none appear to have done enough to gain a place in the starting lineup. Martin Dúbravka had previously been dropped from the squad after breaking curfew while on national duty in 2018.

Milan Škriniar's place at the heart of the defence appears certain. Tomáš Hubočan and Peter Pekarík also appear to be first choice in the full back positions. The position to start alongside Milan Škriniar seems up for contention but Ľubomír Šatka appears most likely to play ahead of Martin Valjent and Dávid Hancko.

The key trio in this formation is the central midfield one consisting of Marek Hamsik, Juraj Kucka and Stanislav Lobotka. Lobotka plays a deep playmaker role sitting just in front of the back four but is also defensively solid, allowing Hamsik and Kucka to move the ball up the pitch, though Kucka will also be expected to contribute defensively.

Michal Duris appears to have the trust of the manager and is most likely to play as the sides target man this summer. We expect him to be flanked by Robert Mak and Albert Rusnak either side. Robert Mak is likely to be Slovakia's most threatening goal scoring outlet with 14 goals in 65 international games.


Key Player
For a while, Slovakia’s defence was all about Martin Skrtel. Since his retirement from international football however, Milan Škriniar has taken over as the star of the backline. The centre-back has built a reputation as one of the best modern defenders in the world. An excellent ball playing defender whose excellent passing ability plays an important role in building up play from the back for Slovakia.



Slovakia’s reward for winning the play-offs was to be placed in a frankly horrible group (for them) alongside Spain, Poland and Sweden. Even with the potential for three teams to go through we would be very surprised to see them advance past the group stages.




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