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Pavel Hapal named Slovakia U21 coach

"Slovakia feels like home and this is a new challenge," said 45-year-old Pavel Hapal after the Czech was installed as the new coach of the Slovakia Under-21 team.

Pavel Hapal led Žilina in the UEFA Champions League in 2010/11
Pavel Hapal led Žilina in the UEFA Champions League in 2010/11 ©Getty Images

Pavel Hapal has been named as the new coach of Slovakia's Under-21 team.

The former Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic midfielder replaces Ivan Galád, who led the Slovaks to the play-offs for this summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship where they lost to Italy. "I am looking forward to this job," said the 45-year-old Hapal, whose greatest coaching success came in guiding MŠK Žilina to a Slovak First League title and then on to the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League group stage. "Slovakia feels like home and this is a new challenge for me. My goal will be to qualify for the next big tournament."

The former SK Sigma Olomouc and Bayer 04 Leverkusen player is the first foreigner to coach Slovakia's U21s and will look to become the first man since Dušan Radolský in 2000 to take them to a U21 final tournament.