Coach: Ján Kozák
Colours: White shirts, white shorts, white socks
v Wales (11 June, Bordeaux)
v Russia (15 June, Lille)
v England (20 June, Saint-Étienne)
In recent years Slovakia has started to emerge from the shadow of its neighbour the Czech Republic, with which it made up Czechoslovakia – winners of the Euro tournament in 1976 and semi-finalists in 1960 and 1980. Having made the World Cup finals for the first time in 2010, it is Slovakia’s first time at the Euros.
How They Got There
Slovakia were placed in a tough-looking group alongside Spain and Ukraine, but put together a solid campaign to qualify automatically for the finals behind the reigning European champions. The start from Repre (“Representatives”) was nothing short of outstanding, with a 1-0 win in Ukraine being followed by a stunning 2-1 win over Spain. Four more wins followed, and by the time Ján Kozák’s side suffered their first reverse against the Spanish they already had one foot on the plane to France.
A draw in Bratislava against the Ukrainians sealed the deal, and not even a home defeat at the hands of already eliminated Belarus could dampen Slovak spirits. A 4-2 win in Luxembourg rounded off the campaign, completing a 7-1-2 record.
v Spain 2-1 (h), 0-2 (a)
v Ukraine 0-0 (h), 1-0 (a)
v Belarus 0-1 (h), 3-1 (a)
v Luxembourg 3-0 (h), 4-2 (a)
v FYR Macedonia 2-1 (h), 2-0 (a)
The Slovaks place more emphasis on solidity than style, but there are some genuine gems in their line-up. Napoli midfielder Marek Hamšík is a world-class performer on his day, and Juraj Kucka – also in Serie A with Milan – will be another name to look out for in France this summer.
Goalkeepers: Jan Mucha (Slovan Bratislava), Matus Kozacik (Viktoria Plzen), Jan Novota (Rapid Wien)
Defenders: Martin Skrtel (Liverpool), Jan Durica (Lokomotiv Moscow), Peter Pekarik (Hertha Berlin), Tomas Hubocan (Dynamo Moscow), Kornel Salata (Sloven Bratislava), Dusan Svento (FC Koln), Norbert Gyomber (Roma), Milan Skriniar (Sampdoria).
Midfielders: Marek Hamsik (Napoli), Stanislav Sestak (Ferencvaros), Miroslav Stoch (Bursaspor), Vladimir Weiss (Al-Gharafa), Juraj Kucka (AC Milan), Viktor Pecovsky (Zilina), Robert Mak (PAOK), Patrik Hrosovsky (Viktoria Plzen), Ondrej Duda (Legia Warsaw), Jan Gregus (Baumit Jablonec).
Forwards: Michal Duris (Viktoria Plzen), Adam Nemec (Willem II), Stanislav Sestak (Ferencvaros)