Ukraine seeks to rejoin the EURO against the surprising Slovakia

A victory for the Ukrainians would boost their chances of being in the round of 16 against a rival that could certify a historic pass


The Slovak and Ukrainian soccer teams will face each other this Friday (3:00 p.m.) at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Düsseldorf, a duel to which the Slovaks will arrive with the option of sealing a historic pass to the round of 16 of this men’s Euro Cup, while that the Ukrainian team, after its resounding defeat against Romania, needs to score points if it does not want to face the last round of Group E as eliminated.

This match on the second day seems decisive for the interests of both teams. After a debut in which Slovakia achieved its first victory in a Euro Cup final phase, the team led by Calzona is looking for a point that would practically ensure its passage, for the first time in its history, to the crossroads of a major tournament.

To achieve this, the Slovak team will have to play a match similar to their debut against Belgium, being a very compact block in defense and taking advantage of opportunities, in addition to maintaining the good level of some players such as goalkeeper Dubravka, who avoided 0.6 goals against, as well as the midfielder Lobotka, omnipresent throughout the match both in defense and attack, recovering three balls and completing 92% of his passes.

For its part, Ukraine is at the opposite extreme after being beaten by Romania in its debut (3-0). Thus, they face the second day with the need to at least score points if they want to continue maintaining their chances of progressing to the round of 16. To do this, the Ukrainian team will have to be much more forceful and confident in defensive tasks, as well as much more forceful in the rival area, since in their debut they only managed to send two of their 14 shots between the three sticks.

As for the latest precedents between the two, Slovakia won the last duel decisively with a 4-1 in their favor, in a Nations League match, before, in the first leg, the victory fell to the Ukrainian side thanks to a solitary goal from Yarmolenko. Of course, both teams have never met in the final phase of a major tournament.

As for sports, the team led by Calzona aims to repeat in the lineup the same eleven players who achieved the victory against Belgium, with the trivote made up of Kucka, Lobotka and Duda, and Schranz, scorer of the Slovak goal, accompanying Bozenik and Haraslin up front.

For his part, more changes are expected in Ukraine, where Rebrov could place Zinchenko in the double pivot with Steparenko to the detriment of Shaparenko. Thus, Mykolenko would come in on the left side, having injured his ankle in the first match. In addition, Valencia striker Yaremchuk would have options to start the game instead of Dovbyk, who was very blurred against Romania.



ESLOVAQUIA: Dubravka; Pekarík, Vavro, Skriniar, Hancko; Kucka, Lobotka, Duda; Schranz, Bozenik and Haraslin.

UKRAINIA: Lunin; Konoplya, Zabarnyi, Matvienko, Mykolenko; Stepanenko, Zinchenko; Tsygankov, Sudakov, Mudryk; Dovbyk.

–REFEREE: Michael Oliver (ING).

–ESTADIO: Merkur Spiel-Arena (Düsseldorf).

–TIME: 15.00/La 2 and Teledeporte.