Lukas Vrablik’s Poland v Slovakia preview: injury doubt Hamsik vital to Slovakia
Our Matchday Squad journalist will be covering Slovakia throughout Euro 2020
These have been a tough few months for Slovakia with some poor results. Not much is expected of Slovakia at the Euros, but that could be their weapon: to prove critics wrong.
At the start of the tournament, there’s a game against Poland, who Slovakia have beaten three times in their last four games.
The first game is very important, as Spain are the favourites for Group E with Slovakia, Poland and Sweden probably fighting for second place.
However, there is a big danger for Slovakia in Robert Lewandowski up front. Even if he has to play without injured Arkadiusz Milik, Slovakia’s defence can’t make any mistakes. Given Slovakia’s absence of a proper centre-forward, it’s very probable that the coach Stefan Tarkovic will opt for a 4-6-0 formation with Ondrej Duda as a false nine and the biggest threat, captain Marek Hamsik, as no 10.
Hamsik isn’t sure to start the game, though. He has joined up with the national team with a minor calf injury and Tarkovic decided to rest him in both friendly games. It’s expected that he’ll start against Poland, and Slovak fans will hope so given his vital role in Slovakia’s attacking play.
Lubomir Satka should join Milan Skriniar in the centre of defence, and Tarkovic might start Jakub Hromada as a defensive midfielder, as he has put in great performances over the last few months. Tarkovic’s biggest worry is the offense, so that’s why it’s expected Slovakia will sit deep and rely on counter-attacks.
My prediction is that Slovakia will not lose, but these will be hard-fought points: either a 1-0 victory or a 1-1 draw.