MX23RW : Saturday, September 25 01:46:04| >> :600:1532618:1532618:
Jun 23, 2021 at 5pm UK
SlovakiaSlovakia
0-5
SpainSpain

Duda (12'), Skriniar (90+4')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Dubravka (30' og.), Laporte (45+3'), Sarabia (56'), Torres (67'), Kucka (71' og.)
Busquets (40'), Alba (60')

Preview: Slovakia vs. Spain - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's European Championship clash between Slovakia and Spain, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

With Euro 2020 Group E still wide open, second-placed Slovakia make the journey to Seville to take on a Spain side who sit one point and one place below them in the rankings on Wednesday.

Stefan Tarkovic's men suffered a 1-0 defeat to Sweden in their most recent encounter, while Spain had to make do with a 1-1 draw against Poland.


Match preview

Milan Skriniar celebrates scoring for Slovakia against Poland at Euro 2020 on June 14, 2021© Reuters

After the jubilation of starting off their Euro 2020 campaign in perfect fashion with victory over Poland, Slovakia were brought crashing back down to earth against a fired-up Sweden, who leapfrogged Tarkovic's men in the standings thanks to a 1-0 win on Friday.

Alexander Isak may have caught the eye on the day, but it was Emil Forsberg's confidently-dispatched penalty which ultimately settled the contest, and manager Tarkovic has conceded that his side must produce a 'miracle' against Spain to make the last 16 for the second time running.

Slovakia's fate is still in their own hands, though, as they remain one point above La Roja in second place and need only draw with Luis Enrique's side to seal progression, with their opening-day victory over Poland meaning that they could not be caught by Paulo Sousa's men in that scenario.

The temptation to shut up shop against Spain will certainly be real for Tarkovic - especially seeing as his crop could not find the target with 10 attempts against Sweden - and Slovakia saw a six-game unbeaten run across all competitions end at the hands of Forsberg and co on matchday two.

With shock results being thrown up left right and centre at Euro 2020, the open nature of Group E means that Slovakia could still progress as winners or finish rock bottom of the pile, but the former option sounds slightly far-fetched as Spain seek to kickstart their campaign at the third attempt.

Spain coach Luis Enrique pictured on June 14, 2021© Reuters

A combination of wasteful Spanish finishing and heroic Polish defending saw Luis Enrique's frustrations continue at Euro 2020, as Spain endeavoured to right the wrongs of their goalless stalemate with Sweden by getting one over Poland.

La Roja made the ideal start as Alvaro Morata's initially disallowed goal was awarded following a VAR review, but none other than Robert Lewandowski would proceed to rise highest and head home an equaliser in the 54th minute before Gerard Moreno's penalty struck the post.

Morata could not direct the follow-up from the penalty on target as Poland stood firm for the final 30 minutes at the Estadio La Cartuja, and Spain simply have to find a winning formula from somewhere lest they risk a group-stage exit at the Euros for the first time since 2004.

The stalemate with Poland did at least extend Spain's unbeaten run across all competitions to 10 matches, but Enrique was left to rue what could have been as Spain fans prepare for a nail-biting 90 minutes on Wednesday, although La Roja could yet follow in the footsteps of Portugal, who drew all three of their 2016 group-stage games en route to the trophy.

Slovakia did manage to overcome Spain as recently as 2014, but Luis Enrique's men - technically the 'home' side in this encounter - are three for three on Spanish soil versus their upcoming opponents, who will still dare to dream.

Slovakia European Championship form:
  • W
  • L

Slovakia form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • L

Spain European Championship form:
  • D
  • D

Spain form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • D



Team News

Spain's Sergio Busquets pictured in October 2020© Reuters

Slovakia defender Denis Vavro continues to observe a period of self-isolation after testing positive for coronavirus, while Ivan Schranz is expected to miss out through injury once again.

Tarkovic has no fresh concerns to work around following the defeat to Sweden, but the Slovakia boss still has a couple of dilemmas to solve in the first XI, as Jakub Hromada seeks to displace Patrik Hrosovsky in the middle.

Lukas Haraslin could also feature on the right flank ahead of Martin Koscelnik, while Ondrej Duda is expected to continue up top despite picking up a booking on matchday two.

Spain's tournament plans were thrown into disarray following Sergio Busquets's positive coronavirus test, but the Barcelona lynchpin is back in full training and available for selection.

It would therefore not be a surprise to see Rodri drop out after he was cautioned against Poland, as Busquets prepares to link up with Blaugrana teammate and a man 14 years his junior in Pedri in the engine room.

Ferran Torres will eye a start after Moreno's penalty miss against Poland, but the Villarreal player boasts more goal contributions (nine - five goals and four assists) than any other player in the side since his October 2019 debut and could be trusted again.

Slovakia possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Pekarik, Skriniar, Satka, Hubocan; Kucka, Hromada; Haraslin, Hamsik, Mak; Duda

Spain possible starting lineup:
Simon; Llorente, P.Torres, Laporte, Alba; Busquets, Koke, Pedri; Moreno, Morata, Olmo


SM words green background

We say: Slovakia 0-1 Spain

Slovakia have no need to adopt a gung-ho approach in search of a famous win versus Spain, as a point would be enough for Tarkovic's men to secure a top-two spot and be a part of the elite 16.

The talent at Luis Enrique's disposal makes it extremely difficult to back a Slovakia clean sheet, though, and while La Roja have not had things their own way so far, we still expect them to produce the goods when it matters most and seal progress into the knockout rounds.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: Slovakia vs Spain

Slovakia
17.8%
Draw
18.8%
Spain
63.3%
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Slovakia's Milan Skriniar celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on March 27, 2021
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Slovakia Euro 2020 preview - prediction, fixtures, squad, star player
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