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Slovakia take FYROM threat seriously

Published: Tuesday 31 August 2010, 21.30CET
Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss said the FIFA World Cup finals contenders "won't underestimate" the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in their opening Group B fixture.
Slovakia take FYROM threat seriously
Slovakia surprised many by reaching the knockout stages in South Africa ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics


Goals scored7
Total attempts143
Attempts on target63
Attempts off target57
Attempts blocked0
Attempts against woodwork0
Yellow cards24
Red Cards0
Fouls committed155
Fouls suffered117
Published: Tuesday 31 August 2010, 21.30CET

Slovakia take FYROM threat seriously

Slovakia coach Vladimir Weiss said the FIFA World Cup finals contenders "won't underestimate" the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in their opening Group B fixture.

Having returned home from the 2010 FIFA World Cup as heroes after reaching the knockout stage on their finals debut Slovakia will be keen to shine again in Group B, where the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia await as their first opponents.

Team news
• Slovakia will be without Stanislav Šesták, their top scorer in FIFA World Cup qualifying, and possibly Róbert Vittek, their leading marksman at the finals, with Tomáš Oravec providing cover up front, while his MŠK Žilina team-member Mário Pečalka has also been called up. Coach Vladimir Weiss said: "We won't underestimate our visitors. They are a decent team with the superb Goran Pandev from Inter Milan."

Slovakia squad
Goalkeepers: Ján Mucha (Everton FC), Dušan Kuciak (FC Vaslui), Dušan Perniš (Dundee United FC)
Defenders: Peter Pekarík (VfL Wolfsburg), Martin Škrtel (Liverpool FC), Tomáš Hubočan (FC Zenit St. Petersburg), Kornel Saláta (ŠK Slovan Bratislava), Radoslav Zabavník (1. FSV Mainz 05)
Midfielders: Miroslav Karhan (1. FSV Mainz 05), Mário Pečalka (MŠK Žilina), Juraj Kucka (AC Sparta Praha), Zdeno Štrba (Xanthi FC), Kamil Kopúnek (FC Saturn Moskovskaya Oblasť), Marek Hamšík (SSC Napoli), Marek Sapara (MKE Ankaragücü), Vladimír Weiss (Rangers FC), Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahçe SK), Dušan Švento (FC Salzburg)
Forwards: Stanislav Šesták (MKE Ankaragücü), Erik Jendrišek (FC Schalke 04), Róbert Vittek (MKE Ankaragücü), Filip Hološko (Beşiktaş JK), Tomáš Oravec (MŠK Žilina)

• Goalkeepers Igor Bogatinov and Darko Tofilovski received their first FYROM call-ups with usual first-choice Tome Pacovski injured, coach Mirsad Jonuz admitting: "Pacovski's injury has caused us big problems." Edin Nuredinovski is likely to take the gloves in Pacovski's absence.

• FC Schalke 04 midfielder Besart Ibraimi and FC Lokomotiv Astana left-back Vlade Lazarevski missed the cut, Jonuz appointing FC Internazionale Milano's Goran Pandev as his captain for the duration of the qualifying campaign.

FYROM squad
Goalkeepers: Edin Nuredinovski (Ethnikos Achnas FC), Darko Tofilovski (MFK Košice), Martin Bogatinov (FK Rabotnicki)
Defenders: Boban Grncarov (APOEL FC), Igor Mitreski (Neftçi PFK), Nikolce Noveski (1. FSV Mainz 05), Vance Sikov (Ethnikos Achnas FC)
Midfielders: Aleksandar Todorovski (FK Rad), Goran Popov (FC Dynamo Kyiv), Aleksandar Lazevski (FK Partizan), Armend Alimi (NK Istra), Agim Ibraimi (NK Maribor), Slavco Georgievski (Neftçi PFK),Velice Sumulikoski (FC Sibir Novosibirsk), Filip Despotovski (SC Volyn Lutsk), Mario Gjurovski (FK Vojvodina)
Forwards: Goran Pandev (FC Internazionale Milano), Ilco Naumoski (SV Mattersburg), Aco Stojkov (FC Aarau), Stevica Ristic (FC Amkar Perm), Blaze Ilijoski (Gangwon FC), Ivan Trickovski (APOEL FC)

Match background
• Slovakia's record in four games against FYROM reads W3 D1 L0 (W1 D1 L0 at home).

• The nations first met in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup, with Slovakia winning their first meeting 2-0 in Bratislava exactly a decade to the day before this latest meeting thanks to goals from Igor Bališ and Igor Demo.

• The return fixture in Skopje then ended in a 5-0 reverse for the hosts; that matched their worst ever home result, a loss to Belgium by the same scoreline in EURO '96 qualifying.

• FYROM also lost 2-0 at home against Slovakia in UEFA EURO 2004 qualifying but went on to earn a 1-1 draw in the return fixture in Zilina on 10 September 2003 – a week shy of precisely seven years before their upcoming encounter.

Last updated: 01/09/10 9.46CET

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