The first round of exciting match fixtures continues on Monday as Poland takes on Slovakia in a crucial Group E tie.
This match will take place in St. Petersburg, Russia – with neither side likely enjoying too much of a home advantage, a rarity thus far in the tournament.
Both clubs enter with hopes of advancing past the group stage, but playing with strong sides from both Spain and Sweden could complicate matters. All it does is enhance the importance of this match-up against each other.
Poland dominated their qualifying group a couple years ago, easily finishing atop Group G. However since this point, the team’s form has faded. The extra wait hasn’t helped the Poles all that much, as injuries and a run of poor results has seeped into the side. Poland struggled mightily in the Nations League, and this ended up bringing about a swap in managers. Paulo Sousa is now at the helm, but success has yet to follow him. This is a talented squad that enters in uncertain form, having won just one match so far in 2021. It’ll be a pressure-filled moment for this squad at Euro 2020.
The Slovaks had to grind for their spot in Euro 2020 – going through a rigorous playoff push and disposing of pesky sides such as the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland in the process. Despite those impressive showings, they too have fallen on tough form of late. They’ve secured just one victory from their past six contests, and have struggled to generate offense.
Despite both teams trending in opposite directions, it only will up the intensity for a match that both the Poles and Slovaks can see themselves winning. It’ll also feature one of the sport’s top strikers in Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, which always makes for must-see action. With that said, continue reading on beneath the current match-up odds for added team news, a tactical breakdown, and a betting selection for this Group E encounter. Enjoy the match!
Poland vs. Slovakia Betting Odds:
Over 2 (-135)
Under 2 (+115)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
Poland vs. Slovakia Pick:
Despite the fact that the Poles enter as decent favourites in this match, it might not feel like it given the mood in their camp of late. A run of poor form, compounded by some crushing injuries – Poland enters Euro 2020 a bit more banged-up than most. They’ll need to be without some creative pieces in Krzysztof Piatek and Arkadiusz Milik, two excellent link pieces for the talented Lewandowski.
Look for Sousa to set-up his Poles in a 4-4-2 formation, focusing on them moving into a 3-4-3 when on the ball and attacking. Kamil Glik and Southampton’s Jan Bednarek form a solid centre back pairing that should be able to hold off the Slovak attack.
In the centre of the pitch is where Poland will need to ensure they’re solid – both in winning and retrieving balls, and delivering quality service to Lewandowski up top. A central tandem of Gregorz Krychowiak and Piotr Zielinski will need to be sublime with their tackling and passing. Krychowiak will play a key role in doing all the dirty work, while Zielinski is a creative passer and dribbler, and should start many rushes for Poland when on the attack.
The Slovaks win by really packing the centre of the pitch and not allowing for much flow or rhythm to their matches. A 4-5-1 formation is what Stefan Tarkovic often goes with, and though this is a squad that might lack a star piece or creative vision, they play hard soccer and do well to thrive as a cohesive unit.
Expect Slovakia to be solid in goal as Newcastle’s Martin Dubravka is often a rock for them between the posts. Marek Hamsik is the team captain, but will be tasked to do a lot of running, tracking back, and delivering up top to lone striker Robert Bozenik. The 21-year old hasn’t had too much success though of late, and likely won’t trouble an experienced Polish back-line.
Despite the gap in quality between these sides, some Polish injuries have dampened the excitement surrounding this darkhorse squad. Still though, the Poles have the talent to control the bulk of possession and dictate the pace against a mostly untested and unskilled Slovak side. For all that Lewandowski has accomplished in his career, he realizes international success has still long eluded him. With Euro 2020 one of his final chances to right that wrong, look for the Bayern star to be motivated and goal-hungry from the start. A dominating Poland win to nil seems fitting for this contest.