MX23RW : Wednesday, October 27 03:51:55| >> :600:1427770:1427770:
Sep 7, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
SlovakiaSlovakia
2-0
CyprusCyprus
Schranz (55'), Koscelnik (77')
Hancko (90+2')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Avraam (43'), Soteriou (63')

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

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's World Cup Qualifying - Europe clash between Slovakia and Cyprus, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Slovakia play host to Cyprus on Tuesday evening knowing that anything less than all three points will harm their chances of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

The same applies to their next opponents, who make the trip to Bratislava sitting bottom of Group H and six points adrift of the top two.


Match preview

 Slovakia manager Stefan Tarkovic on March 30, 2021© Reuters

Despite Slovakia drawing all but one of their opening four fixtures, Stefan Tarkovic would have been relatively content with the scenario in front of his team ahead of Saturday's meeting with Croatia.

The Falcons were on course for another stalemate as the game headed into the closing stages, but Marcelo Brozovic's 86th-minute winner has put a large dent in their qualification hopes.

While all is not lost with five matches still remaining, Tarkovic and his squad are aware that they must take full advantage of a home fixture against their upcoming opponents.

Slovakia face away trips to Russia and Croatia within the space of three days in October, a task which will be made all the more daunting if they fail to win on Tuesday.

Tarkovic requires his forward players to get in on the act in the final third with centre-back Milan Skriniar still the top goalscorer with two strikes.

Cyprus held Slovakia to a goalless draw in the opening game of the group, a result which was quickly followed by a surprise win over Slovenia.

At that stage, Nikos Kostenoglou would have had high hopes about making the playoffs, but his side's campaign has since petered out.

A 3-0 defeat in Malta on Wednesday night came as an almighty blow, with the 2-0 reverse against Russia which followed leaving Cyprus with just four points and one goal to show for their five matches.

You also have to go back to October 2019 for their last victory on away territory, their victory in Kazakhstan coming courtesy of two goals in the final 17 minutes.

Slovakia World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L

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

Cyprus World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L

Cyprus form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L



Team News

Cyprus coach Nikos Kostenoglou during the match on March 24, 2021© Reuters

Tarkovic will almost certainly freshen up his Slovakia XI, potentially handing recalls to Ondrej Duda and Robert Bozenik.

Veteran Marek Hamsik should retain his place in the starting lineup having been withdrawn shortly after the hour-mark on Saturday.

Peter Pekarik and Martin Koscelnik are competing for a place at right-back, the latter possibly coming in to replace a player eight years his senior.

Konstantinos Sotiriou is back in contention for Cyprus after serving a one-match suspension for his dismissal against Malta.

Demetris Christofi will also be considered for a return in attack, potentially taking the spot of Ioannis Pittas.

Slovakia possible starting lineup:
Rodak; Koscelnik, Satka, Skriniar, Hancko; Duda, Kucka, Hamsik; Mak, Bozenik, Weiss

Cyprus possible starting lineup:
Michael; Psaltis, Katelaris, Sotiriou, Karo, Ioannou; Loizou, Artymatas, Kastanos, Papoulis; Christofi


SM words green background

We say: Slovakia 2-1 Cyprus

With the stakes raised considerably, we expect a nervy match to occur on Tuesday evening. However, Slovakia are now forced to produce more quality in the final third, something which could play into their favour going forward.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home 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 Win:data


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How you voted: Slovakia vs Cyprus

Slovakia
82.7%
Draw
9.3%
Cyprus
8.0%
75
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Slovakia's Milan Skriniar celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates on March 27, 2021
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