Preparing for just their second European Championship as an independent nation, with their other appearance coming in 2016, Slovakia will be keen to impress at Euro 2020. It will be an underdog story from the off for the Slovakians, that much is clear. In the aforementioned 2016 tournament, they made it out of the group in the third place play-offs before suffering a dismantling at the hands of Germany.
They deserve plenty of credit, however, for reaching the Round of 16 in the first place having finishing third in a group containing England, Russia and Wales. With another difficult group to overcome, Slovakia will be hoping to produce another respectable run.
The team at Last Word on Football has put together a country profile so that you can have the compete rundown ahead of the competition kicking off in June.
Everything You Need to Know About Slovakia Ahead of Euro 2020
Who is the Slovakia Coach?
Appointed in October 2020, Štefan Tarkovič will be desperate to showcase his managerial expertise with Slovakia at Euro 2020. Having been involved with the national team since 2013 out of the spotlight, Tarkovič finally has the limelight transfixed onto him and his side; he has the chance to become a national hero.
He was always going to be the man for the job, too, having been the assistant manager in 2013, caretaker manager in 2018 and technical director in 2019. The 48-year-old is a fine example of how to work your way up the ranks. His managerial experience, as a whole, isn’t extensive, to say the least and it was likely his expertise of the national team that landed him the job.
Tarkovič previously managed Slovakia first tier side MSK Zilina in the 12/13 season, where he, most notably, managed current Slovakia and Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka. He has also managed other Slovakian sides Tatran Presov and MFK Košice.
Who Has Been Selected for the Slovakia Euro 2020 Squad?
Manager Štefan Tarkovič has named a squad with some recognisable names across Europe’s top six leagues, with players from the Bundesliga, Serie A and Premier League all involved.
Goalkeepers: Martin Dúbravka (Newcastle), Dušan Kuciak (Lechia Gdańsk), Marek Rodák (Fulham)
Defenders: Dávid Hancko (Sparta Praha), Tomáš Hubočan (Omonoia), Martin Koscelník (Liberec), Peter Pekarík (Hertha Berlin), Ľubomír Šatka (Lech Poznań), Milan Škriniar (Inter Milan), Martin Valjent (Mallorca), Denis Vavro (Huesca)
Midfielders: László Bénes (Augsburg), Ondrej Duda (Köln), Ján Greguš (Minnesota), Marek Hamšík (IFK Göteborg), Lukáš Haraslín (Sassuolo), Jakub Hromada (Slavia Praha), Patrik Hrošovský (Genk), Juraj Kucka (Parma), Stanislav Lobotka (Napoli), Tomáš Suslov (Groningen), Vladimír Weiss (Slovan Bratislava)
Forwards: Róbert Boženík (Feyenoord), Michal Ďuriš (Omonoia), Róbert Mak (Ferencváros), Ivan Schranz (Jablonec)
With Dúbravka in goal and Milan Škriniar, Slovakia’s best option may well be to sit back, absorb pressure before hitting on the break. In their final warm-up game before Euro 2020 against Austria, in which they drew 0-0, counter attacking play seemed the order of the day.
Dúbravka made saves aplenty before Slovakia launched lethal counter attacks that lacked the final touch. The point is, however, they were as quick as ever in transition and caused havoc at times for Austria. It would come as no surprise to see them catch a few teams out in similar fashion come the group stages.
Their best chance going forward comes in the form of Ivan Schranz, who scored 16 goals in all competitions for FK Jablonec in the season just gone. If Slovakia can absorb any pressure before finding Schranz, we may well see some upsets come the group stages.
Group Stage Fixtures
In Slovakia’s group for Euro 2020 is Spain, Sweden and Poland. Their best hope of a win seems to be against Sweden, who will be without Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Games against Spain and Poland will likely prove to be difficult. Poland, led by goal machine Robert Lewandowski, could crack the stubborn Slovakian defence. As for Spain, they’ll be hoping to avoid any upsets and progress with relative ease.
Slovakia begin the competition against Poland on June 14 before facing Sweden four days later and concluding the group stages against Spain on June 24. The run-in is certainly a favourable one, especially if they can take a point against Poland before the winnable game against Sweden.
Poland v Slovakia – June 14, 5pm BST
Sweden v Slovakia – June 18, 2pm BST
Slovakia v Spain – June 24, 5pm BST
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