Euro 2024 Group E Opponent Preview: Slovakia

Belgium have been drawn in a group that, on paper, they should be able to qualify from. They are joined by Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. The latter are likely to provide the sternest of tests in Germany, but Belgium open their campaign against Slovakia.

Goalkeepers: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United), Marek Rodak (Fulham), Henrich Ravas (New England Revolution)

Defenders: Peter Pekarik (Hertha Berlin), Milan Skriniar (Paris Saint-Germain), Norbert Gyomber (Salernitana), David Hancko (Feyenoord), Adam Obert (Cagliari), Denis Vavro (Copenhagen), Vernon De Marco (Hatta), Sebastian Kosa (Spartak Trnava)

Midfielders: Stanislav Lobotka (Napoli), Juraj Kucka (Slovan Bratislava), Ondrej Duda (Hellas Verona), Patrik Hrosovsky (Genk), Matus Bero (Bochum), Laszlo Benes (Hamburger SV), Tomas Rigo (Banik Ostrava)

Forwards: Robert Bozenik (Boavista), Lukas Haraslin (Sparta Prague), Ivan Schranz (Slavia Prague), David Strelec (Slovan Bratislava), Tomas Suslov (Hellas Verona), David Duris (Ascoli), Lubomir Tupta (Slovan Liberec), Leo Sauer (Feyenoord)

Milan Skriniar is the standout player for the side in terms of household names. The 29-year-old PSG defender is captain of the side and played 24 games in Ligue 1 as PSG won yet another French title. The former Inter man has played 68 times for his country including appearing in five Euro games. Slovakia’s strength does appear to be at the back, with Feyenoord’s David Hanko joining Skriniar and a number of other decent options. In goal, they will likely to with Martin Dubravka of Newcastle United.

In front of him, the midfield will rely on the work of Napoli’s Stanislav Lobotka, who may well be joined by a familiar face for Belgian football fans in Genk’s Patrik Hrosovsky. Ondrej Duda of Hellas Verona will be looked upon to provide an attacking threat from midfield. The former Hertha Berlin man has 13 goals and 10 assists for the country in 72 games.

Up front, there are still some question marks going into the tournament. Robert Bozenik of Boavista in Portugal is likely to be the main man in the sides 4-3-3, having scored nine goals in 31 league games this season. Francesco Calzona has been a fan of Lukas Haraslin of Sparta Prague during qualification. The winger has been in excellent club form with 16 goals and six assists. The other flank is up for grabs, with Robert Mak not included in the squad. Ivan Schranz, Thomas Suslov and David Duris are all options for Calzona on the other wing. Schranz started the 4-0 friendly win over Wales while Suslov got the nod against San Marino, which was also a 4-0 win.

Remarkably, Calzona spent the latter half of the 2023/2024 season in charge of Napoli after Walter Mazzari was sacked.

The winner of Group E Will face the third best team from either Group A or Group B. Whoever finished second will face the second placed side from Group D, which will be one of France, the Netherlands, Poland or Austria.

GBeNeFN | Ben Jackson

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