Slovakia’s Team 2016
Slovakia are set to compete in their first European tournament this summer after an impressive qualifying campaign where they finished second behind defending European champions Spain. The Slovak team has every confidence that they can beat anyone as they shocked Europe with a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Spaniards during the qualifiers. Slovakia also stunned world champions Germany with a 3-1 win in a friendly match in Augsburg at the end of May. Two remarkable scalps, but is it enough to make an impact in the European championship?
Recent warm-up games suggest that the Slovak side is in great form, but friendly matches can never be treated as reference points. Slovakia’s manager Ján Kozák seems to be capable of getting the best out of his players and making them believe that the impossible is actually possible. However, they will be the underdogs in Group B according to bookmakers as Slovakia were drawn against England, Wales and Russia.
England are likely to secure the top spot, but there is no clear favourite for the second or third place as the other teams are pretty much equally balanced. The Slovaks will probably not be crowned European champions this summer, but due to the team’s unpredictability it is not unimaginable that they reach the last 16 and progress even further in the knockout stages.
Coach Kozák can rely on his star players: Liverpool center-back Martin Škrtel and Napoli midfielder Marek Hamšík can be the heart and soul of the team unless they get injured in the following few days.
Martin Škrtel (L) and Marek Hamšík (R)
The Slovaks will kick-off their Euro campaign with a game against Wales on June 11 before facing Russia four days after. Slovakia are scheduled to play their last group-stage match against England, but further fixtures could follow if they perform well.
Veľa šťastia! (Good luck)
By: Levente Marczika