MX23RW : Sunday, June 13 14:46:38| >> :120:17985:17985:
Oct 8, 2020 at 7.45pm UK at Národný Futbalový Štadión
SlovakiaSlovakia
0-0
Rep. IrelandRepublic of Ireland

Duda (101'), Hamsik (114')
FT

Hourihane (20'), McClean (48'), Duffy (68')
Slovakia win 4-2 on penalties

Preview: Slovakia vs. Republic of Ireland - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifying playoff between Slovakia and Republic of Ireland, including team news and predicted lineups.

Republic of Ireland step up their bid to reach a third successive European Championship finals when they take on Slovakia in Thursday's qualifying playoff semi-final.

The winners of the one-legged tie in Bratislava will face either Bosnia-Herzegovina or Northern Ireland for a place in next summer's rearranged Euro 2020 tournament.

The game will go ahead despite the Slovakian government considering a state of emergency after a rise of coronavirus cases in the country.


Match preview

Following the postponement of this fixture in March and then again in June, Slovakia and Republic of Ireland finally get the chance to lock horns on Thursday.

Slovakia finished third in qualifying Group E, behind Croatia and Wales, while Ireland were third behind Switzerland and Denmark in Group D.

The UEFA Nations League provides teams with a safety net, however, and these two sides will now have a second chance of reaching the finals, which will be spread across Europe.

The visitors are now under new management, of course, as Stephen Kenny took over from Mick McCarthy ahead of schedule in April.

Kenny started his reign with a 1-1 draw in Bulgaria through Shane Duffy's 93rd-minute equaliser, before losing 1-0 at home to Finland - Fredrik Jensen netting the only goal.

It is now one win in six for Republic of Ireland, and even that victory came in a victory against minnows New Zealand before the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the calendar.

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny pictured on September 6, 2020© Reuters

Slovakia have an identical record, though, with their solitary win over the past 13 months coming at home to Azerbaijan earlier in the qualifying campaign.

Pavel Hapal's side most recently lost 3-1 at home to the Czech Republic and drew 1-1 at Israel in their opening round of 2020-21 UEFA Nations League matches.

The home side are winless in all five previous meetings with Ireland, although four of those games have finished all square.

Perhaps the biggest concern for Kenny is that his side have won only one of their last 11 away matches in all competitions - 1-0 against Gibraltar in March 2019.

With this match to be settled on the day, that is something Ireland will have to put right if they are to stay on course for another major tournament.

Slovakia form (all competitions): DDLWLD

Republic of Ireland form (all competitions): DLWDDL


Team News

Seamus Coleman in action for Ireland on November 15, 2018© Reuters

Ireland are without skipper Seamus Coleman after he injured his hamstring in Everton's victory over Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend. Cyrus Christie has been called up.

Kevin Long is also a late addition to the squad in place of the injured Darragh Lenihan, so Kenny has a few issues to contend with when it comes to picking his strongest lineup.

Kenny used a 4-3-3 formation in his first two games, though he has the option of using Matt Doherty in his favoured wing-back position, meaning a switch to a 5-3-2.

Slovakia are sweating on the availability of key man Stanislav Lobotka, who may be ruled out of this game following a coronavirus outbreak at Napoli last week.

Young striker Robert Bozenik, who plies his club trade for Feyenoord, has scored three goals in his last four appearances in European Championship qualifying.

Marek Hamsik is back involved, meanwhile, after coronavirus travelling restrictions blocked him from playing in September's double-header.

Slovakia possible starting lineup:
Rodak; Gyomber, Skriniar, Valjent, Kucka; Sabo, Mihalik, Bero, Lobotka; Koscelnik, Hamsik

Republic of Ireland possible starting lineup:
Randolph; Doherty, Egan, Duffy, Stevens; Hourihane, Byrne, Molumby, Brady; Robinson, Connolly


SM words green background

We say: Slovakia 1-1 Republic of Ireland (ROI through on pens)

Four of the previous five meetings between the sides have finished level, and they both enter this match with one win in five to their name.

This is therefore an extremely difficult match to call, but we are backing Republic of Ireland to scrape through for a meeting with either Bosnia-Herzegovina or Northern Ireland.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win 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.Home/Away:data

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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny pictured on September 6, 2020
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