What to expect from Slovakia at Euro 2016

Head Coach Jan Kozak has a well organised and disciplined side at his disposal.

What to expect from Slovakia at Euro 2016
Slovakia possess a strong spine to their squad (photo: Getty Images)

With Slovakia's presence on the global football stage still in its tender years since claiming independence from Czechoslovakia 22 years ago, Wales, England and Russia scouts will be working overtime to dig up any information they can find on their Group B rivals.

Variation is key

Led by a fans favourite in Slovakian football, Head Coach Jan Kozak is an organised and clever individual. One thing that is almost certain is that his side will set up with a different tactic in every group game they play. Kozak favours a 4-1-4-1 formation, though he used a variation of the tactic in almost every qualification game against the likes of Spain and Ukraine.

Slovakia tend to set their team up depending on the opposition. Do not be surprised to see three defensive midfielders line up against the likes of England, arguably the superior nation of all four in Group B. Against Wales, Slovakia may fancy their chances and push their midfield players further forward in support of the lone striker, often Adam Nemec.

Pace and creativity in wide areas

The Eastern European nation are blessed with pace on the wings in Miroslav Stoch, Robert Mak and Vladimir Weiss, with the latter completing qualification at the top of the assist chart. They are supported by captain Marek Hamsik, who tends to be allowed a free role behind the front man, or is occasionally deployed as a floating lone striker.

Juraj Kucka will provide energy in midfield (photo: Getty Images)
Juraj Kucka will provide energy in midfield (photo: Getty Images)

All of Kozak's wide players are not afraid to do their defensive duties and they are supported by a central midfield in AC Milan's Juraj Kucka, Viktor Pecovsky and Norbert Gyomber who was on loan at Roma at the beginning of the season. Whoever plays out of the trio will provide discipline and energy no matter what variation of the formation they are asked to play in, with Kucka the most likely to play in a more advanced role against Wales and possibly Russia.

A defence led by Liverpool's Martin Skrtel and Jan Durica, two regulars in the side who have over 150 caps between them, are supported by a midfield that will defend in numbers. They conceded just eight goals in ten qualification games and will be a tough unit to break down.

England and Wales be warned. Underestimate Slovakia at your peril.