Euro 2020: Irish heartbreakers Slovakia can make their mark on the tournament

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They will be looking do disappoint Spanish, Swedish, and Polish hearts this summer when they face off in Group E. The side is not littered with stars but are tough and hard to break down under interim manager Stefan Tarkovic, who was appointed just a month before their crucial play-off final with Northern Ireland.

Group E: SLOVAKIA, Spain, Sweden, Poland
Manager: Stefan Tarkovic
Odds (PP): 325/1
Recent Tournaments: World Cup 2018 (did not qualify), Euro 2016 (round of 16)
FIFA World Ranking: 36th

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Key Man

Milan Skriniar. The centre back is just off the back of winning Serie A with Inter, playing a key role in Conte’s back three. His performances have attracted interest from Europe’s big guns and a big money move could be on the cards. He will be looking to impress his potential suitors at the Euros this summer. He is tough, has a decent turn of pace and is comfortable bringing the ball out from the back, making him a brilliant all-round defender.

The Squad

Like their group opponents Spain, Slovakia have opted for a 24-man squad.

Premier League keepers Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka and Fulham’s Marek Rodak are included, with Dubravka set to start.

In defence joining Milan Skriniar is Hertha Berlin’s veteran right back Peter Pekarik.

Midfield is Slovakia’s strongest area, with many notable names from Bundesliga and Serie A. Napoli defensive midfielder Stanislav Lobotka is included and likely to start alongside Parma’s Juraj Jucka.

Another name associated with Napoli in the squad is Marek Hamsik, who made over 400 appearances for them. Arguably Slovakia’s greatest ever player, he is now back in Europe with Swedish club IFK Goteborg after two years in China. He will likely line-up in attacking midfield along with Koln’s Ondrej Duda and Ferencvaros winger Robert Mak. Monchengladbach’s Laszlo Benes, on loan at Augsburg, is also selected.

In attack Slovakia are relatively weak and might struggle for goals. Omonoia striker Michal Duris will likely lead the line, with Feyenoord’s Robert Bozenik in reserve.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle), Marek Rodak (Fulham), Dusan Kuciak (Lechia Gdansk)

Defenders: Peter Pekarik (Hertha), Ľubomir Satka (Lech Poznan), Denis Vavro (Huesca), Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan), Tomas Hubocan (Omonoia), Jakub Holubek (Gliwice)

Midfielders: Marek Hamsik (IFK Goteborg), Stanislav Lobotka (Napoli), Patrik Hrosovsky (Genk), Juraj Kucka (Parma), Ondrej Duda (Koln), Robert Mak (Ferencvaros), Vladimir Weiss (Slovan Bratislava), Laszlo Benes (Augsburg), Lukas Haraslin (Sassuolo), Tomas Suslov (Groningen), Matus Bero (Arnhem), Erik Jirka (Mirandes)

Forwards: Michal Duris (Omonoia), Robert Bozenik (Feyenoord), David Strelec (Slovan Bratislava)

The Author

Daragh Searing

Student and sports fanatic, aged 19. I availed of the extra time on my hands during the pandemic to get into sportswriting, something I've always had strong interest in. Man United fan but also a keen follower of Serie A & European football. Hoping to pursue a career in sportswriting, with Soccer and Rugby my areas of expertise. email: searingdaragh9@gmail.com

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