UEFA.com reporter Rastislav Hribik takes a close look at Slovakia ahead of UEFA EURO 2020.
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Group E fixtures
Coach: Štefan Tarkovič
Captain: Marek Hamšík
Nickname: Sokoli (Falcons)
How they qualified: play-offs (Republic of Ireland 0-0, 4-2 pens; Northern Ireland 2-1 aet)
EURO best: winners (1976, as Czechoslovakia)
Where they could play their knockout games
Final 26-man squad
Goalkeepers: Martin Dúbravka (Newcastle), Dušan Kuciak (Lechia Gdańsk), Marek Rodák (Fulham)
Defenders: Dávid Hancko (Sparta Praha), Tomáš Hubočan (Omonoia), Martin Koscelník (Liberec), Peter Pekarík (Hertha Berlin), Ľubomír Šatka (Lech Poznań), Milan Škriniar (Inter Milan), Martin Valjent (Mallorca), Denis Vavro (Huesca)
Midfielders: László Bénes (Augsburg), Ondrej Duda (Köln), Ján Greguš (Minnesota), Marek Hamšík (IFK Göteborg), Lukáš Haraslín (Sassuolo), Jakub Hromada (Slavia Praha), Patrik Hrošovský (Genk), Juraj Kucka (Parma), Stanislav Lobotka (Napoli), Tomáš Suslov (Groningen), Vladimír Weiss (Slovan Bratislava)
Forwards: Róbert Boženík (Feyenoord), Michal Ďuriš (Omonoia), Róbert Mak (Ferencváros), Ivan Schranz (Jablonec)
UEFA.com Slovakia reporter: Rastislav Hribik
This is my second EURO, having started in 2016 when Slovakia finished third in their group behind England and Wales after qualifying for the first time since independence. That was enough to advance to the round of 16, where Germany stopped their run. My best moment? The game against Russia and Marek Hamšík's winner at the end of the first half. The brave defensive display against England in Saint-Etienne was another highlight.
How they play
Slovakia coach Štefan Tarkovič uses a 4-3-2-1 formation with young Róbert Boženík or the more experienced Michal Ďuriš up front. The defence is marshalled by centre-back Milan Škriniar, who was the team's best player in 2020, while Juraj Kucka provides the engine in defensive midfield, with captain Marek Hamšík pulling the strings going forward.
Key player: Marek Hamšík
A simply brilliant player, who captained Slovakia at their first FIFA World Cup in South Africa in 2010. He is still there 11 years later, albeit now with over 120 caps – a national record. Hamšík is still very much the team's key player and Slovakia tend to struggle a little without him. He suffered a slight calf injury on club duty for Göteborg but is expected to be ready for his second EURO.
Coach: Štefan Tarkovič
A former technical director of the Slovak Football Association, Tarkovič served as Ján Kozák's assistant at EURO 2016 and was personally recommended by him to become Slovakia coach. Tarkovič, 48, was appointed in October 2020 and quickly steered the side to a successful play-off win against Northern Ireland in Belfast.
One to watch: Tomáš Suslov
A talented left-footed winger who will be 19 when the finals kick off, Suslov is the youngest member of the squad. He scored two Eredivisie goals for Groningen last season, having joined from the Tatran Prešov academy, and made his first start for Slovakia in March. Suslov has the potential to be one of the surprises of the tournament.
Can they win it?
Reaching back-to-back EUROs after a lengthy absence is a great achievement for Slovakia, and progressing to the last 16 in France five years ago was also a pleasant surprise. However, the likes of Martin Škrtel and Ján Ďurica retiring from international duty has forced new coach Tarkovič to focus on younger, relatively inexperienced players. Kucka and Hamšík are still there, but they will need help from the youngsters to pull off more surprises – especially given the lack of goals and victories recently.