Slovakia begin preparations for their first Euro 2016 match with Wales in a friendly on Friday evening against Georgia. The match will take place at the ASKO stadium in Wels, Austria just two days before Slovakia take on Germany.
Energy versus defence
Georgia are renowned for their defensive style of football as they attempt to frustrate the opposition by playing with ten men behind the ball for the majority of their matches. It is a similar tactic to how Slovakia used to play before the arrival of Jan Kozak as Head Coach. The former international footballer has turned his team into an exciting unit that are willing to do their defensive duties for the cause.
Such a work ethic helped Slovakia to victories over Spain and Ukraine on their way to Euro 2016 qualification, winning seven out of ten matches, before remaining unbeaten in their previous four friendly encounters. Whilst Slovakia have not lost since early October, Georgia have not won a game since almost the same day when they defeated international minnows Gibraltar. That victory was one of just three in a qualification campaign that saw them finish fifth in their group.
A chance for the fringe players to impress
Jan Kozak likes to tinker with his starting line-up, constantly adapting his preferred 4-1-4-1 formation dependent upon the opposition. With Georgia one of the lower ranked sides in international football and with one eye on Sunday's clash with Germany, Kozak could look towards some of his fringe players as he works out how to narrow his provisional squad of 27 to 23. It is likely that whoever is selected in the central midfield positions will be asked to provide a typically energetic display to support the attacking players, with Georgia unlikely to venture too far forward in Austria.
Georgia do have a 100% record against Slovakia after two late goals secured a 2-0 victory in their only meeting 16 years ago, though it is unlikely that the outcome will not be in favour of the Sloavkians this time around as they step up their preparations for their first major tournament since World Cup 2010.