Slovakia Euro 2024 squad, predicted line-up versus Belgium, latest odds and star players

6 days ago 17

SLOVAKIA qualified automatically as runners-up behind Portugal and boast a decent spread of high-profile names in the squad.

Captain Milan Skriniar joined French giants Paris Saint-Germain last summer but does not always feature for the Qatari-owned club.

EPA
Slovakia could be dark horses at Euro 2024[/caption]

At least keeper Martin Dubravka will go to Germany with plenty of game time behind him having filled in between the posts for injured Nick Pope.

Fellow keeper Marek Rodak is with Fulham but is mainly limited to cup games at Craven Cottage.

This will be their third successive Euro finals and in France 2016 they advanced to the knockout stage where they were beaten by Germany.

Manager: Francesco Calzona

Has spent the last four months combining his role as Slovakia chief with the manager’s job at Napoli.

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Francesco Calzona has been burning the candle at both ends[/caption]

Key man: Martin Dubravka

Will travel to Germany with plenty of practice behind him.

Newcastle’s first-choice keeper Pope suffering a dislocated shoulder is at least good news for Slovakia’s man.

Likely line-up

Slovakia’s defence is marshalled by the vastly experienced Skriniar.

Along with Dubravka and midfielder Stanislav Lobotka, they have a strong spine from which to build around.

Lukas Haraslin is a threat from the wing and Ivan Shranz on the opposite flank has a decent goalscoring record for Sparta Prague.

Striker Robert Bozenik was linked with Brentford a few years ago and is a solid technician leading the line.

How Slovakia could line up in Germany

How they attack

It is no mean feat for a country like Slovakia to have qualified for three Euros finals tournaments in a row.

But they are likely to find it difficult to get out of the group stages again this time around.

As with many other teams in this tournament, we believe that Slovakia are likely to line up in a 4-3-3 system and although they have real quality in some positions, they are lacking depth in others.

They will look for opportunities to play forward relatively quickly.

Slovakia are not overly structured in their build-up and will look for opportunities to play into the midfield quickly to progress the ball

As they move the ball into advanced positions the fact that they are not looking to retain possession of the ball will see Slovakia be more direct in passing into space to have runners attack.

Slovakia look to break Austria down and commit players to make runs from deeper positions

As Slovakia move the ball into the wide areas they will look to generate opportunities through crosses into the area.

When they have the ball wide we will typically see them push players forward to try to attack the penalty area and look to overload the opposition defensive line.

With the ball in the wide area Slovakia push players high as they look to take advantage of the ball crossed into the penalty area

How they defend

When they are in the defensive phase of the game, Slovakia do not typically look to press aggressively or engage the ball in the higher positions.

Instead they will drop off to form more of a medium defensive block ahead of the ball.

As Norway are in possession of the ball in their own penalty area we see the defensive block from Slovakia drop off and allow the Norwegians time and space to build their attack

The big issue that Slovakia have out of possession is that they can often leave spaces for the opposition to take advantage of between the lines.

While they are not overly aggressive in terms of pressing high they are also not compact and well structured with their defensive shape.

This is something that the opposition can take advantage of.

Norway are in possession just inside their own half. Once again there is no direct pressure on the ball and the opposition have players in pockets of space between the lines that can be exploited

Often we see the Slovakians struggle with the opposition play quickly to release players who are making forward runs from deeper areas.

With no pressure on the ball and no compact defensive structure these moments can be dangerous for Slovakia.

Austria attack wide and the Slovakian defensive structure is not strong. A simple pass into the striker allows the midfield runner to make an aggressive run to break the last line

Prediction

Slovakia face a tough ask to overcome Belgium, Ukraine and Romania to finish top of their group and face a third-placed team.

A more likely route would be to nick second and play the runners-up from the group containing France, the Netherlands, Austria and Poland.

In truth, the last 16 is probably the best they can hope for.

Latest odds

With odds of 500/1 on William Hill, Slovakia are rank outsiders to lift the trophy.

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