Slovakia Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Final Verdict

Slovakia Euro 2024 Preview | Tactical Analysis & Final Verdict article feature image
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BJ Cunningham/Action Network. Pictured: Milan Skrinar.

Slovakia are back at the Euros for the third straight time. They made the round of 16 in 2016 and with the squad they have, matching that would be an incredible accomplishment.

Slovakia finished second in their qualifying group behind Portugal and were really good against everyone else, but Portugal throttled them in both meetings. There is some talent this Slovak side in their center back pairing and midfield, but the attack leaves a lot to be desired. They are lucky they got put into the easiest group in this tournament, so they at least have a shot at qualifying for the round of 16.

Let's dive into my Slovakia Euro 2024 preview.

Tactical Analysis

There really isn’t much imagination or diversity to what Slovakia try to do when they are building out of the back. Normally it’s in a 4-2 or 2-4 type of shape, but the distance between players is very wide comparatively to most build up structures because they want to stretch the opponent's defensive block to open up space either in the middle for someone dropping deep or to be able to send a long ball to switch the play or send it up the pitch.

Slovakia are also the most set piece reliant team in this entire tournament. A lot of their chances are mainly off of corners where they are trying get the ball to their 6’2” star center back Milan Škriniar. Of the 17 goals they scored during qualifying, seven of them came off of set pieces. They also averaged the fourth-highest amount of shots per set piece, but outside of that there really isn’t much to like about this offense.

Slovakia are the worst defensive team by the numbers in this entire tournament, allowing 1.49 xG per 90 minutes during qualifying. A lot of that has to do with the fact that they conceded six expected goals to Portugal in a 3-2 loss where they were allowing an absurd amount of chances.

Slovakia are not a traditional sit back in a low defensive block type of team, rather they will come out and press high in certain situations and try to force a high turnover, which they did do a decent job of against some of the smaller sides, but they will defend out of a 4-5-1 structure and allow way too many passes in between the lines, so it’s really tough to see how they are going to stop Ukraine and Belgium.

The other aspect that is really concerning is how bad they are defending in transition. Playing against teams like Iceland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, they allowed the most counterattack shots of anyone in the Euro field and Luxembourg specifically kept opening them up through the middle to create chances.

slovakia-pickslovakia-euros

data via WyScout

Final Verdict

The problem for Slovakia is creating chances from open play. Slovakia finished qualifying averaging just 1.28 xG per 90 minutes, which is 19th in the Euro field. The reasoning for that is two fold. First, when they get to the final third, they often are either settling for a shot from outside the box or do not have good enough attacking players to get on the end of a lot of their chances. Thomas Suslov plays for Venoa in Serie A and is the only attacking player that plays in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

They do have a good center back pairing in Feyenoord’s Dávid Hancko and PSG’s Milan Škriniar, along with a great central midfielder in Napoli’s Stanislav Lobotka, but the rest of the team really lacks the talent to give them any hope of getting out of this group unless them beat Romania and somehow get by via the third place route.

I think the market has Slovakia priced correctly from a futures prospective, so I am passing on any futures involving them.

Final Verdict: Pass

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