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Preview: Slovakia v England

England manager Roy Hodgson has a welcome selection dilemma in attack for the game against a Slovakia side who feel they need to keep things tight to stand a chance.

Roy Hodgson, Jack Wilshere and the England mascot
Roy Hodgson, Jack Wilshere and the England mascot ©Getty Images
  • Final round of Group B games with England on four points, Slovakia three
  • England qualify with a draw, Slovakia definitely through with a win
  • England manager Roy Hodgson: "Players have been knocking on the door"
  • Six Slovakia players within a yellow card of missing the last 16
  • Slovakia captain Martin Škrtel plays with five England squad members at Liverpool

Possible line-ups
Kozáčik; Pekarík, Škrtel, Ďurica, Hubočan; Pečovský, Kucka; Mak, Hamšík, Weiss; Nemec.
Misses next match if booked: Hrošovský, Kucka, Mak, Škrtel, Weiss, Durica

England: Hart; Clyne, Cahill, Smalling, Bertrand; Henderson, Dier, Wilshere; Lallana, Vardy, Sturridge.
Misses next match if booked: Cahill

Coach quotes
Ján Kozák, Slovakia coach

I am going to make some changes to the team again, because the game demands it. England will be a different proposition from Russia – I know that very well. They play a different way, so we have to do something to prepare for that. To be honest, we do not have a strong enough team to play an open game against a team like England. We have to focus on our style if we want to be successful.

Hamšík happy after Slovakia stunner

We have tried to prepare as well as we possibly can and we're looking forward to it. As for England's attack, we might say one thing, then something entirely different could happen on the day. We need to show respect to our opponent, but we also carry a threat ourselves.

Every match is tough at a tournament like this. Everyone plays to the best of their ability, each team has its own strengths. England are a team of real pedigree.

Roy Hodgson, England manager
The players are in good shape. It wouldn't be a problem if I wanted to keep the same side, but there are players who would like to play and have been knocking on the door. Jamie [Vardy] and Daniel [Sturridge] did very well when they came on and would like another chance. We have options in those front positions. It's a decision that has to be made.

There are lots in the Slovakia team who we have to watch out for. The front line, with [Marek] Hamsik, [Ondrej] Duda and [Vladimír] Weiss are good attacking players. All we can do is hope our performance on the night is good enough to beat them.

My contract runs out after this tournament. Everyone knows that. On a regular basis the subject gets brought up: should I stay? Do I want to stay? What should the FA do? We're only concentrating on winning the next game to see how far we can go, whether that's the last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals or final.

EURO2016.com team reporters in Saint-Etienne
Rastislav Hríbik, Slovakia (@UEFAcomRastoH)
After weathering a late storm against Russia, Slovakia's defence has another challenge. They need at least a point to progress, and while Marek Hamšík is a great creator, it may not all be about him. Škrtel's English experience could be useful, but England are overwhelming favourites. Selection question: after Michal Ďuriš played up front against Wales, and Ondrej Duda against Russia, will master-header Adam Nemec lead the line this time?

Simon Hart, England (@UEFAcomSimonH)
England's attacking possibilities were underlined by the contributions of their goalscoring substitutes Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy against Wales. Hodgson may well unleash the pair from the start against Slovakia and the hope is the last-gasp win in Lens will be a springboard for this young England team – and a cue too for Hodgson to continue with the positive approach that paid off in the end on Thursday. There may be other changes, too, with a possible first start at EURO for Jack Wilshere.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)

Did you know?
Jozef Vengloš, who was in charge of Slovakia between 1993 and 1995, was appointed by Aston Villa in summer 1990 – becoming the first person born outside the British Isles to manage in England's top division. He left the club the following year. Find out more in our extensive match background.

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