Everything you need to know about Slovakia before Euro 2024
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Everything you need to know about Slovakia before Euro 2024

08/06/24 12:12

Slovakia are set to compete in their third successive European Championship in what will be their first major tournament since the retirement of star playmaker Marek Hamsik. Here is everything you need to know about the Falcons heading into Germany.

26 man team for the tournament

Headlined by Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and Feyenoord teenager Leo Sauer, here is the 26 players coach Francesco Calzona will be taking to the Euros:

Goalkeepers: Martin Dúbravka (Newcastle), Marek Rodák (Fulham), Henrich Ravas (New England Revolution).

Defenders: Peter Pekarík (Hertha Berlin), Norbert Gyömbér (Salernitana), Denis Vavro (FC Copenhagen), Milan Škriniar (Paris Saint-Germain), Adam Obert (Cagliari), Dávid Hancko (Feyenoord), Vernon De Marco (Hatta Club), Sebastián Kóša (Spartak Trnava).

Midfielders: Matúš Bero (Bochum), Juraj Kucka (Slovan Bratislava), Tomáš Rigo (Baník Ostrava), Patrik Hrošovský (Genk), Stanislav Lobotka (Napoli), Ondrej Duda (Hellas Verona), László Bénes (Hamburg).

Forwards: Dávid Duriš (Ascoli), Tomáš Suslov (Hellas Verona), Ivan Schranz (Slavia Prague), Róbert Boženík (Boavista), David Strelec (Slovan Bratislava), Lubomír Tupta (Slovan Liberec), Leo Sauer (Feyenoord), Lukáš Haraslín (Sparta Prague).

Without the creativity of Hamsik, Calzona has said his team will have to rely on the collective if they have any hope to compete. The experience from the likes of Dubravka, Skriniar and Pekarik will likely be crucial in providing the team with defensive security whilst they look for a spark going forward.

Group and schedule

Slovakia are in Group E alongside Belgium, Romania and Ukraine and begin their Euro 2024 campaign against Belgium on June 17th. They then face Ukraine on the 21st before finishing the group stage against Romania on the 26th. Their first game will be available to watch on ITV, with BBC One showing Slovakia vs Ukraine and Slovakia vs Romania being shown on BBC iPlayer.

Player to watch

Despite having only played one senior game for the Slovakian national team, young forward Leo Sauer is my player to watch during the side’s group stage matches. The 18-year-old Feyenoord man broke into the first team this season, making his debut on the 20th of August 2023 at just 17 in which he scored his first senior goal.

Sauer played just 15 matches for Feyenoord this season, appearing as a substitute in all of them but in that time he bagged two goals and four assists and has shown a lot of promise playing down the left flank.

For a team like Slovakia searching for someone to fill the creative void left by Hamsik, Sauer has the opportunity to step up and make a huge statement that he is a young player who more people should be taking note of.

How did they fare at Euro 2020

After narrowly qualifying for Euro 2020, Slovakia ended up being eliminated in the group stage for the first time in their history. They were drawn into group E with Spain, Sweden and Poland.

They began with a 2-1 win over Poland before losing to Sweden 1-0 and getting hammered by the Spaniards 5-0. They finished third in the group and were subsequently knocked out.

How far will they go this time?

Given their group this time round, I predict Slovakia to finish 2nd behind Belgium and make it to the knockout stages of the tournament.

However I think the round-of-16 will be as far as they go. Likely facing Netherlands in the knockouts, the talent at the Dutch’s disposal will be far too great for the Slovakians to handle.

Benji Kosartiyer
Journalist
Cameron Beards

Football Writer

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