With a tight and talented back line and a midfield packed with pacy players comfortable anywhere in the middle two-thirds of the pitch, Slovakia are likely to look to the speed and skills of Miroslav Stoch, Vladimir Weiss jnr and, most importantly, superstar captain Marek Hamsik in midfield to break through defences and feed a lone striker far up front with one, or even two, forwards playing in an advanced midfield role.
All three, Weiss jnr, especially, are capable of searing speed and Hamsik, one of Europe’s finest midfielders, is capable of splitting open any defence with a moment of brilliance. The form of former captain and striker Robert Vittek will be crucial to deciding coach Weiss’s exact line up in the last third of the pitch.
Weiss will be confident that the tandem of defenders Martin Skrtel and Jan Durica and keeper Mucha who all performed superbly in qualifying, can soak up any pressure Slovakia comes under and that the experience and quality of Slovakia’s most-capped player, defensive midfielder Miroslav Karhan, will make sure possession is retained while Hamsik can roam at will or be ready to set up lightning counter attacks.
Team – 4-4-2
Jan Mucha jnr; Martin Skrtel, Jan Durica, Radoslav Zabavnik, Peter Pekarik; Miroslav Karhan, Miroslav Stoch, Marek Hamsik, Vladimir Weiss jnr; Stanislav Sestak, Robert Vittek.