Slovakia return to St Petersburg for their second Group E game to take on Sweden, a team they have never previously beaten.
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Slovakia return to Saint Petersburg for their second Group E game to take on Sweden, a team they have never previously beaten.
• However, while Slovakia reached the round of 16 at UEFA EURO 2016, their debut in the tournament, Sweden – who have appeared in every EURO finals since 2000 – last featured in the knockout stage in 2004.
• Slovakia's bid to reach the last 16 again got off to a positive start thanks to a 2-1 win against Poland on Matchday 1, an 18th-minute own goal from Poland keeper Wojciech Szczęsny preceding what proved to the winner, scored by Milan Škriniar in the 69th minute shortly after Poland had been reduced to ten men. Sweden are also off the mark at EURO 2020, a disciplined defensive effort holding Spain to a goalless draw in Seville in their opening fixture.
• Sweden and Slovakia have met on five previous occasions, Sweden winning two with the other three matches – including the last two – ending in draws.
• The teams last met in a 1-1 draw at Solna's Friends Arena on 16 October 2018, Albert Rusnák striking for Slovakia six minutes from time after John Guidetti had given Sweden a 52nd-minute lead.
• That match was a first game in charge for current Slovakia coach Štefan Tarkovič, who was then serving as caretaker following Ján Kozák's departure.
• This is the sides' third competitive contest, and a first since a Marcus Allbäck double (45, 52) earned Sweden a 2-0 win in Solna in 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifying on 2 June 2001.
• Slovakia had held the Swedes to a goalless draw in Bratislava in the reverse fixture, on 11 October 2000, but were eliminated after finishing third in Group 4 on 17 points, behind section winners Sweden (26 points) and runners-up Turkey (21).
• Sweden also beat Slovakia 6-0 in an Abu Dhabi friendly on 12 January 2017, a game classed as an unofficial international. Alexander Isak was on the scoresheet.
• Sweden and Czechoslovakia met in four EURO matches, all qualifiers. Holders Czechoslovakia won 3-1 in Solna and 4-1 in Prague in the preliminaries for the 1980 tournament, going on to reach the finals in Italy; in qualifying for the 1984 competition, Czechoslovakia let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Sweden in Bratislava and then went down 1-0 in Solna, both teams being eliminated after finishing behind Romania.
• Slovakia were 3-0 winners against Sweden on Matchday 3 of the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Poland with Ľubomír Šatka on the scoresheet, but missed out on a place in the semi-finals by a single goal.
EURO facts: Sweden
• Sweden are competing at their sixth successive EURO finals, and their seventh in total. They have not made it through the group stage since reaching the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2004.
• Four years ago, Erik Hamrén's side finished bottom of Group E with one point from three matches. Having opened with a 1-1 draw against the Republic of Ireland, the Swedes lost 1-0 to both Italy and Belgium.
• A 2-0 defeat of France on Matchday 3 of UEFA EURO 2012 is Sweden's only victory in nine EURO finals matches (D2 L6).
• Sweden's greatest feat to date is reaching, as hosts, the 1958 World Cup final, which they lost 5-2 to Brazil. In their best EURO campaign they progressed to the last four of the 1992 edition, again as hosts, before succumbing 3-2 to Germany.
• Jan Andersson's team secured their place at UEFA EURO 2020 as runners-up to Spain in qualifying Group F, picking up 21 points from their ten matches (W6 D3 L1). Having lost 3-0 to Spain – who are also in Group E at the final tournament – in their fourth qualifier, a result that equalled their biggest margin of defeat in a EURO game, Sweden won four of their next six matches (D2) to finish four points clear of third-placed Norway.
• This is Sweden's second game at the Saint Petersburg Stadium, where they beat Switzerland 1-0 in the round of 16 at the 2018 FIFA World Cup thanks to Emil Forsberg's second-half strike. That was their first game in Saint Petersburg; Sweden's record in Russia overall is now W7 D3 L5. At the 2018 World Cup it was W3 L2 as they eventually reached the quarter-finals before losing 2-0 to England in Samara.
• Sweden were 2-1 friendly winners against Russia at Moscow's CSKA Arena on 8 October 2020, Isak scoring the visitors' first goal.
EURO facts: Slovakia
• Slovakia are making their second successive EURO appearance after their debut at UEFA EURO 2016, where a side coached by Kozák finished third in Group B behind Wales and England on four points before losing 3-0 to Germany in the round of 16.
• The opening win against Poland means Slovakia's record in EURO finals is therefore W2 D1 L2 – the other victory a 2-1 defeat of Russia on Matchday 2 in 2016, Marek Hamšík scoring the decisive goal.
• Slovakia's UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying campaign began under coach Pavel Hapal, who oversaw their third-placed finish in Group E on 13 points from eight games (W4 D1 L3), behind Croatia (17 points) and Wales (14) but ahead of Hungary (12) – all three of their rivals also qualifying for the final tournament – and Azerbaijan (1).
• Third in their UEFA Nations League group in 2018/19 behind Ukraine and the Czech Republic, Slovakia therefore qualified for the UEFA EURO 2020 play-offs, Hapal overseeing a 4-2 win on penalties against the Republic of Ireland after their semi-final in Bratislava had finished goalless.
• Hapal left his post before the play-off final, Tarkovič overseeing a 2-1 extra-time win away to Northern Ireland in which Michal Ďuriš scored the goal that secured a place at UEFA EURO 2020.
• Slovakia are now unbeaten in four EURO matches (W3 D1); a 3-1 loss in Croatia on 16 November 2019 is their only reverse in seven games (W4 D2).
• While Slovakia had never competed at a UEFA European Championship as an independent nation before 2016, as part of Czechoslovakia they figured in two four-team final tournaments and, in 1980, the first eight-team event.
• Czechoslovakia finished third in 1960 and 1980 and lifted the trophy in 1976. Eight of the 11 players who started the '76 final against West Germany – and triumphed on penalties after a 2-2 draw – hailed from Slovakia.
• Having also played Poland in Saint Petersburg on Matchday 1, this is Slovakia's third game in the city, where they lost 1-0 to Russia in a May 2014 friendly. Matchday 1 made their overall record in Russia W2 D2 L2, the other five matches all against the home side, four of them in Moscow; Slovakia's sole success before beating Poland was a 1-0 UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying victory at the Stadion Lokomotiv in September 2010.
Links and trivia
• Isak's goal in that unofficial friendly against Slovakia on 12 January 2017 made him, aged 17 years 113 days, the youngest player to score for Sweden.
• Slovakia captain Hamšík joined IFK Göteborg on a short-term contract in March 2001.
• Have played together:
Emil Krafth & Martin Dúbravka (Newcastle United 2019–)
Marcus Danielson & Marek Hamšík (Dalian Professional 2020–21)
Juraj Kucka & Dejan Kulusevski (Parma 2019/20)
• Ján Greguš (2016–18) and Denis Vavro (2017–19) were team-mates of Robin Olsen (2016–18), Ludwig Augustinsson (2016/17) and Pierre Bengtsson (2017–19) at FC Copenhagen.
• Róbert Mak and Vladimír Weiss were both at Manchester City in 2009/10.
• Marcus Berg scored a penalty for Krasnodar in a 3-1 defeat against Zenit in a Russian Premier League game at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on 8 November 2020; Kristoffer Olsson and Viktor Claesson were also in the Krasnodar starting XI.
• Sweden's 0-0 draw against Spain was their first EURO finals stalemate since the quarter-final of UEFA EURO 2004, when they lost on penalties to the Netherlands. It was also their first draw in 18 matches since they held Spain 1-1 at home in a UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier on 15 October 2019.
• Sweden were dealt a considerable blow in their countdown to UEFA EURO 2020 when record scorer Zlatan Ibrahimović, who had returned to the national team in March for the first time since UEFA EURO 2016, was ruled out through injury.
• Nevertheless, Jan Andersson's side made it five wins in a row by defeating both Finland (2-0) and Armenia (3-1) in their two pre-tournament friendlies in Solna. Robin Quaison and Sebastian Larsson (penalty) were on target in the first game, with Emil Forsberg, Marcus Danielson and Marcus Berg finding the net in the second.
• Larsson's goal was his tenth for Sweden and in Ibrahimović's absence he is the only player in the UEFA EURO 2020 squad to have previously scored at a EURO final tournament, his one goal having sealed a 2-0 win over France at UEFA EURO 2012. That was the last goal scored by any Swedish player at the EURO finals, their only strike five years ago in France having been an own goal.
• Larsson is one of ten players in the 2016 squad who have been retained for UEFA EURO 2020, the others being Forsberg, Berg, Andreas Granqvist, Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelöf, Albin Ekdal, Robin Olsen, Ludwig Augustinsson and Pontus Jansson, though the last three did not make it on to the field of play in France.
• Granqvist, who has not played for Sweden since November 2019, has been restored to the squad as captain. He and Lustig were participants alongside Larsson at UEFA EURO 2012.
• Granqvist scored two penalties in Sweden's run to the quarter-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Augustinsson and Forsberg also found the net in Russia with their first tournament goals.
• Filip Helander of Scottish champions Rangers is the only 2020/21 league title winner in Sweden's squad, while Dejan Kulusevski is the sole domestic cup winner from the season just concluded, having helped Juventus to their Coppa Italia success with the opening goal in the final against Atalanta (2-1). Neither played against Spain on Matchday 1.
• Alexander Isak was also a winner of the delayed 2019/20 Copa del Rey final with Real Sociedad as they defeated Basque rivals Athletic Club 1-0 on 3 April 2021 in Seville. Isak was the sixth highest scorer in the 2020/21 Liga, scoring 17 goals for La Real.
• Jordan Larsson, son of Sweden legend Henrik, was the third top scorer in the 2020/21 Russian Premier League with 15 goals for runners-up Spartak Moskva. Only Artem Dzyuba (20) and Sardar Azmoun (19) of champions Zenit scored more.
• Seven members of Sweden's squad played in the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League – Lindelöf for Manchester United, Kulusevski for Juve, Forsberg for Leipzig, Jens Cajuste for Midtjylland, and Berg, Kristoffer Olsson and Viktor Claesson for Krasnodar.
• Slovakia are on a six-match unbeaten run in 2021, although the Matchday 1 success against Poland was one of only two wins in that sequence, the other coming at home to Russia (2-1) in a World Cup qualifier on 30 March.
• Slovakia's two warm-up games for this tournament both ended in draws – 1-1 against Bulgaria in the Austrian town of Ried im Innkreis and 0-0 against Austria in Vienna. László Bénes scored against Bulgaria – his first goal at international level – and that game also heralded the return to the team of winger Vladimír Weiss, a 2020/21 Slovakian double winner with Slovan Bratislava, after an absence of almost three years.
• Weiss is one of five veterans of Slovakia's 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa still representing the country at UEFA EURO 2020, the others being Peter Pekarík, Juraj Kucka, Dušan Kuciak and captain Marek Hamšík.
• Weiss and Hamšík were both scorers at UEFA EURO 2016, where Pekarík and Kucka were also present – as were other current squad members Tomáš Hubocan, Milan Škriniar, Ján Greguš, Patrik Hrošovský, Róbert Mak, Michal Ďuriš and another goalscorer in France, Ondrej Duda.
• Hamšík, the country's record cap holder (127) and goalscorer (26), is also the Slovakian with most appearances (41) and goals (11) in EURO matches, qualifiers included. No player from the country, including those who represented Czechoslovakia, has ever managed more than one goal at a EURO final tournament, Škriniar having become the ninth player on that single-strike list with his winner against Poland.
• Aside from Weiss – the only player in Štefan Tarkovič's squad representing a Slovakian club – five other players in the party won domestic league titles across Europe in 2020/21: Škriniar in Italy with Internazionale, Jakub Hromada in the Czech Republic with Slavia Praha, Mak in Hungary with Ferencváros, and both Ďuriš and Hubocan in Cyprus with Omonoia. Hrošovský was also a Belgian Cup winner with Genk.