Slovakia was competitive in the Euro qualifying bid last year, but unfortunately, they failed to grab that second place, as they finished in the 3rd spot, only one point behind Wales. Slovakia was in the group with Croatia, previously mentioned Wales, Hungary, and Azerbaijan.
They were able to record a victory against every team, both home and away, except Croatia and Wales, and that obviously cost them, as these two were able to qualify. Overall they looked good on the pitch, surely regretting that 1:1 result against Wales back at home in round seven, when they had a chance to win, in case of which, they would take that 2nd place.
Slovakia hadn’t played this year, but never the less, they are a dangerous team, and I expect them to approach aggressively here.
Goalkeeper Dubravka (24/0, Newcastle) won’t be included, as well as defender Skrtel who retired from playing international football, but also midfielders Hamsik (120/25, Dalian), Mak (58/12, no club), Benes (3/0, Gladbach), and Stoch (60/6, no club) comparing to previous few call-ups. Most of them are absent from the list with a good reason.
Czech Republic successfully finished their Euro qualifications, as they ended up in a second-place with fifteen points out of eight matches. They were in the group together with England, newly formed Kosovo, Bulgaria, and Montenegro, so their path wasn’t that difficult.
Being inferior only to England, almost everyone has seen them in that second place, a task that they accomplished without major difficulties. Kosovo did surprise them in the fifth round when they recorded a 2:1 home victory, but the Czech Republic responded with the same result back at home in round nine. They lost to Bulgaria in the last round of the campaign, but Euro promotion was already secured.
Unfortunately, they too didn’t play any matches this year, but if look at the way they played in the Euro campaign, they are not coming to Slovakia to stay passive.
Defenders Kaderabek (42/3, Hoffenheim), Suchy (44/1, Augsburg), midfielders Soucek (25/3, West Ham), Krejci (41/5, Sparta) and forward Schick (22/9, Leipzig) won’t be part of the team this time.
These two go way back
Considering the fact that they were once one state, their style of play does not differ much. Both teams feel their comfort in the offense, and I am expecting goal-scoring chances from both sides since this does come as slightly more than just a game for them. Both teams have a competitive motive, considering the history, goals from both sides seem like a decent value bet this time.