Euro 2020 Play-Offs: Slovakia vs Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland travel to Narodny Futbalovy Stadion, Bratislava, to face Slovakia in their Euro 2020 play-off semi-final clash. 

Victory in this tie will see the winner face either Bosnia & Herzegovina or Northern Ireland away in their play-off final on 12 November in either Sarajevo or Belfast depending on who wins their clash in Path B.

 

Team News

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Michal Duris has withdrawn from Slovakia’s squad due to a concussion suffered whilst on club duty for Omonia and has been replaced by Pavol Safranko.

Lech Poznan’s Lubomir Satka has been replaced by Jakub Holubek after finding himself in close contact with someone who tested positive for Coronavirus, consequently withdrawing from the squad.

Napoli midfielder, Stanislav Lobotka is a doubt as he continues to self-isolate following a positive test of Coronavirus, although it is hoped that he will be released in time to join up with the squad.

Republic of Ireland will be without Harry Arter due to a thigh injury and the midfielder has been replaced by Josh Cullen, who completed a move from West Ham to Anderlecht on Monday.

Seamus Coleman (hamstring) and Darragh Lenihan (knee) are both ruled out and therefore withdrew from the squad over the weekend.

 

Stat Attack

  • Slovakia are winless in five previous meetings against Republic of Ireland (D4, L1).
  • Republic of Ireland have drawn both of their two previous trips to Slovakia, drawing 2-2 inn September 2007 then 1-1 in October 2010 in qualifying for Euro 2008 and 2012 respectively.
  • Only eight Republic of Ireland players feature in the present-day squad from the team that drew 2-2 at home to Slovakia in March 2016 in a friendly, with Shane Long and James McClean both scoring from the penalty spot in that clash.
  • Slovakia have lost just two of their last seven home matches in all competitions (W3, D2, L2).
  • Republic of Ireland are unbeaten in four of their last five away trips in all competitions (W1, D3, L1).

 

Prediction

Slovakia have prepared their squad well with plenty of alternative players available on standby in case of injury or positive Coronavirus tests but focusing on the match itself, I am expecting a tough match given the four previous draws in five between these teams.

Republic however do possess the better overall quality in terms of goal scoring with players like Callum Robinson, Conor Hourihane and Aaron Connolly already in good form.

We should therefore expect a good attacking game between two relatively even-matched teams but I am going for a late Ireland win given their stronger quality.

Prediction: Slovakia 1-2 Republic of Ireland AET

Result: Slovakia 0-0 Republic of Ireland (Slovakia win 4-2 on penalties)

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