Preview of Euro 2024 – Slovakia National Team

The Euro 2024 Championship promises to be a true football celebration, bringing together the best teams from the continent. Among the participants is the Slovakia national team, which earned the right to compete in the tournament through determined efforts in the qualifying cycle. Despite not being considered favorites, the Slovaks can surprise with their distinctive style of play and a stellar lineup.

Nicknamed the “Falcons,” Slovak footballers are heading to Euro 2024 for the third time in their history, following their performances in 2016 and 2020. Despite their modest 48th place in the FIFA rankings, they are more than capable of challenging more renowned opponents. In Group E, Slovakia will face Belgium, Romania, and one of the teams emerging from Path B in the playoffs (Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, or Iceland).

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Style of Play

The Slovakia national team distinguishes itself with a vibrant and recognizable style based on the rational use of resources and strategic tactics. The team’s main star is midfielder Stanislav Lobotka, known for his performances with the champion team Napoli. This versatile player combines the roles of a disruptor and a creator, accelerating attacks and skillfully connecting defense with offense.

Slovakia actively employs team pressing, attempting to cut off possible paths for opponents to launch attacks. Here, they demonstrate remarkable discipline and coordination, capable of forcing even the most technical teams to make mistakes.

A notable feature of the “Falcons'” game is the wide formation and frequent use of long passes from deep in the field. Defenders, especially Milan Skriniar from Inter, stand out for their excellent long passes and game vision.

The team adheres to a deliberate style, preferring to impose a struggle in the center of the field and maintain a compact line arrangement. Meanwhile, full-backs often join attacks, temporarily exchanging positions with midfielders. An interesting aspect is the rotation of players in the midfield, creating additional challenges for opponents.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Slovakia’s main strengths lie in a reliable defense, prowess in aerial duels, and a well-balanced lineup without clear weak links. During the qualifying cycle, they conceded only eight goals, keeping their goal intact five times. Slovakia is renowned for winning aerial duels thanks to the skill of Denis Vavro, David Gancko, Milan Skriniar in defense, and Robert Bozenik in attack. The percentage of won aerial duels exceeds 58% – a solid indicator.

Issues for the team may arise with a high pace of play and creativity in the finishing stage of attacks. After the departure of the legendary Marek Hamsik, the team lost a key disruptor and creator of goal-scoring opportunities.

Now, these functions rest entirely on Lobotka and Duda. Additionally, the defensive style of the Slovaks may lack the speed required to counter fast opponents with potent counterattacking potential. The team will need to address this issue at the Euro.

Leaders and Coach

The unquestionable leader of the “Falcons” is defender Milan Skriniar – one of the strongest center-backs in Europe of the decade, seasoned in the tough Serie A. The 29-year-old player is characterized by dedication, a fighting spirit, and the ability to win duels.

The standout of the qualifying cycle was full-back David Gancko, who scored three goals and provided two assists. This technical and speedy player, standing at 188 cm tall, is sure to attract the attention of top club scouts with his performance at the Euro.

The brain of the team is rightfully considered Stanislav Lobotka – an incredibly hardworking and tactically savvy midfielder with excellent passing abilities. He is a key player not only for the national team but also for the champion Napoli.

Guiding the Slovak “Falcons” is 55-year-old Francesco Calzona – a mysterious figure recommended for this position by the legendary Marek Hamsik. Having spent most of his career as an assistant in Italian clubs, the coach recently got the chance for independent leadership. Interestingly, Calzona will combine his role with the national team with a coaching position at Napoli.

The Slovakia national team has the potential to be one of the main revelations of Euro 2024. The “Falcons” possess a vibrant style, a stellar lineup, and a powerful fighting spirit. If they manage to overcome their weaknesses, they could disrupt the status quo and make a loud statement on the continental stage.

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