After a shock win against Poland in matchweek 1, Slovakia will face Sweden on 18 June.
Saint Petersbourg’s Krestovsky Stadium will host the clash between Slovakia and Sweden as the two teams are set to battle it out for a spot in the knock-out stages of Euro 2020. Both teams come into the match with high spirits, after Slovakia upset Poland in the first match to get a win and Sweden hunkered down to get a precious point against Spain in Seville.
The two teams have never faced each other in an international competition before, with Sweden being unbeaten in the 5 times they have met. But with Slovakia going into the match as Group E leaders and having a solid defence, this fixture could go either way. With that being said, let us get down to all the nitty gritty details about the match.
With Slovakia winning its first ever opening game in an important competition against Poland, Sweden will be desperate to win this game in order to qualify for the next round. but let’s first examine the two teams’ situation and how they arrived at the Euros:
made it into the Euro 2020 from group F of the qualifying stages. They won 6 and drew 3 of their 10 games and finished 2nd behind Spain with 21 points and above the likes of Norway and Romania.
But they have been much less impressive in the Nations League A as they have been facing tough oppositions like France and Portugal. However, they have historically been great against Slovakia which will no doubt give them hope going into this match.
Slovakia on the other hand didn’t qualify for the Euros directly as they finished 3rd in a group that had Croatia and Wales directly qualify for the Euros.
instead went to the play-off path B and ended up beating Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland to book their ticked for Euro 2020.
Now let’s assess the Sweden and Slovakia’s current form and their squad situation going into this match:
Sweden has been on great form recently, winning 5 of their last 6 games and drawing against Spain. Although other than Spain and Finland, their opponents have been relatively easy in those games, their recent results will boost their confidence going into this match.
They barely had any possession in the first match against Spain but they showed that they are defensively solid which is always a bonus for teams in international competitions. They will however be a bit tired after defending for 90 minutes in Seville’s extremely hot temperatures.
Slovakia has been unbeaten in their last 6 clashes, including their first game at Euro 2020. They have won twice and drawn 4 games and will be looking to do the same against Sweden as well because either of those results will likely see them in the next round.
Alongside Finland’s win over Denmark, Slovakia’s result against Poland was one of the first surprises of Euro 2020 as no one expected them to win againstLewandowski
’s Poland. Their results show that they are a hard team to beat and that Sweden had their work cut out for them.
Sweden has been unbeaten in all the 5 times they’ve faces Slovakia, winning 3 and drawing twice. The last time the two teams played together was in October of 2018 where they drew 1-1.
But perhaps their most memorable clash happened in a 2017 friendly game where Sweden gave Slovakia a thrashing by beating them 6-0.
Sweden will play a 4-4-2 formation that will look to offer more creatively than the game they had against Spain. Kulusevsky and Svanberg who both missed the first match due to COVID-19 should be available but it’s unlikely that they’ll be picked for this match. So Sweden’s possible starting line-up will be: Olsen; Lustig, Lindelöf, Danielson, Augustinsson; Sebastian Larsson, Ekdal, Olsson, Forsberg; Isak, Berg.
Slovakia on the other hand will probably be in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Duda as the sole striker. With this formation, they’re likely to prioritize defense over attacking with Hrosevsky shielding the back line. Ivan Schranz is set to miss the match due to injury and Denis Vavro is also out because of contracting COVID-19. Without them Slovakia’s possible starting line-up will consist of: Dubravka; Pekarik, Satka, Skriniar, Hubocan; Kucka, Hromada; Haraslin, Hamsík, Mak; Duda.
Sweden didn’t have the ball all that much in the first game against Spain but when they did, their young striker, Alexander Isak, impressed. The 21-year-old Real Sociedad striker has had many transfer rumors surrounding him and will look to prove himself further against Slovakia. But in order to do so he must be provided with chances, which will likely come from RB Leipig’s Emile Forsberg, who is another player to watch for Sweden.
With Slovakia being in pole position for qualifying to the next round after their shock win against Poland, they will most likely try to defend to get a point and possibly hit Sweden on the counter. As such their defensive talisman,Milan Skriniar
will play a big role in the match. The Inter Milan defender, who played a massive role in Inter’s 19th Serie A title, even got on the scoresheet in the first match. Slovakia’s goalkeeper,Martin Dubravka
, who plays for Newcastle needs to bring his A-game as well.
After giving an impressive defensive display against Spain, Sweden has to change it up significantly when they go up against Slovakia since they desperately need to score and win if they want to have any chance of qualifying to the next round. With Forsberg as their playmaker and Isak’s brilliance in attack, Sweden are favorites to win this match, but Skriniar and Dubravka will likely give them a hard time. So we reckon a 1-0 win for Sweden will be the most likely outcome.
The German referee, Daniel Siebert will be officiating the match. Siebert has been a Bundesliga referee since 2012 and is one of the more inexperienced referees in Euro 2020 with only 9 international games in his resume. The 37-year-old Siebert has been FIFA listed since 2015 and he has had experience refereeing near 200 Bundesliga 1 and 2 matches.
The German duo of, Jan Seidel and Rafael Foltyn, will be assisting Siebert on the pitch with the fourth and fifth officials being the Bulgarian team of Georgi Kabakov and Martin Margaritov. Marco Fritz from Germany will be serving as the match’s Video Assistant Referee (VAR) and he is accompanied by Christian Dingert, Lee Betts and Stuart Attwell.
Date: Wednesday, June 18
Kick off Time: 15 pm GMT
Location: Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia
TV: BBC One (UK), ESPN (US)
Live stream: FuboTV
Odds: Sweden 5/6; Draw 12/5; Slovakia 15/4 (Bet365)