Euro 2016 squads Group B : Slovakia


Slovakia are resurgent under Jan Kozak, who prefers a 4-2-3-1 system with Marek Hamsik in a free role. Beat Spain in qualifying to finish ahead of Ukraine in their group.


Marek Hamsik had not played as well for Slovakia as he had for Napoli before Kozak took over, but now he makes the national side tick with his tireless running and ability to create and score goals.


Hamsik again, sadly. Slovakia rely heavily on the 28-year-old, which means there is little in the way of attacking threat should he be nullified.


With Martin Skrtel setting you back 5.5, full-backs Tomas Hubocan andPeter Pekarik (both 5.0) are the cheapest of the nailed-on options in a somewhat unconvincing defence. As the team’s most productive full-back for successful tackles and key passes, the former looks likely to offer some value. Keeper Matus Kozacik comes in are just 4.5 in Uefa, though, and played a part in all ten matches in the qualifiers.

Right winger Robert Mak (6.0) will struggle for our attentions, though he did manage a goal and two assists on the road to France. Mak’s attacking stats – double-figures for both shots and key passes – afford a degree of optimism, whilst the former Man City youth player also shares corner duties with Weiss and is top by some distance for crosses.

Goalkeepers: Matúš Kozáčik (Viktoria Plzeň), Ján Mucha (Slovan Bratislava), Ján Novota (Rapid Wien).

Defenders: Peter Pekarík (Hertha Berlin), Milan Škriniar (Sampdoria), Martin Škrtel (Liverpool), Norbert Gyömbér (Roma), Ján Ďurica (Lokomotiv Moskva), Kornel Saláta (Slovan Bratislava), Tomáš Hubočan (Dinamo Moskva), Dušan Švento (Köln).

Midfielders: Marek Hamšík (Napoli), Juraj Kucka (AC Milan), Miroslav Stoch (Bursaspor), Vladimír Weiss (Al-Gharafa), Róbert Mak (PAOK), Patrik Hrošovský (Viktoria Plzeň), Ján Greguš (Jablonec), Viktor Pečovský (Žilina), Stanislav Šesták (Ferencváros), Ondrej Duda (Legia Warszawa).

Forwards: Michal Ďuriš (Viktoria Plzeň), Adam Nemec (Willem II).

Slovakia goalkeepers

Ján Mucha Legend
  • Club Slovan Bratislava
  • Age 33
  • Caps 45
  • Goals 0
A veteran now, the goalkeeper was a regular under the previous coach, Vladimír Weiss Sr, and produced a stunning performance against Poland in snowy Chorzów to take Slovakia to the 2010 World Cup. However, after his move to Everton, where he failed to dislodge Tim Howard as the No1 goalkeeper, as well as a couple of mistakes while playing for Slovakia, he lost his place to Matúš Kozáčik. While at Everton, he admitted living in a “very insular world” and was ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work after driving while disqualified. Back in Slovakia Mucha has headed a campaign to promote the importance of bone marrow donations as his son has battled with cancer.

Matúš Kozáčik No1 goalkeeper

  • Club Viktoria Plzeň
  • Age 32
  • Caps 16
  • Goals 0
Benefited from Ján Mucha’s decline and is now the country’s No1, playing a huge part in Slovakia reaching the Euros. Actually made his international debut in 2006 but then had to wait another seven years for his next cap. Played for Anorthosis Famagusta for two years between 2010 and 2012, where he gained experience from playing in the Europa League. A father of four at the age of 32, he married a Czech girlfriend after 12 years in the country as a professional. Speaks fluent Czech as well as Slovakian.
Ján Novota
  • Club Rapid Vienna
  • Age 32
  • Caps 3
  • Goals 0
Will go into the tournament as a back-up to Matúš Kozáčik and Ján Mucha but is a good goalkeeper who would be able to step up to the plate if called upon. Has had some injury concerns this season, however, with a shoulder injury troubling him in the spring. The 1.99m tall goalkeeper says: “Size is not everything in goalkeeping. It is good to be tall when you come for crosses or when someone is one-on-one with you but the most important thing is your technique.” Made his international debut at the age of 30 and became a regular starter for Rapid Vienna when the club legend Helge Payer retired.

Slovakia midfielders

Marek Hamšík Star man

  • Club Napoli
  • Age 28
  • Caps 84
  • Goals 18
In a different league, really, in the Slovakia national team, the Napoli player had been criticised for not performing as well for his country as for his club but made a huge contribution in the qualifiers for the tournament in France. Grew up admiring Pavel Nedved, he has never been very good at losing. His father, Richard, once said: “Ever since he was young, he hated losing. Every training, he was trying to stand out. When the boys had to stand in a row before shooting at goal, he always wanted to be first.”
Stanislav Šesták
  • Club Ferencvaros
  • Age 33
  • Caps 64
  • Goals 13
Šesták scored six goals in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, prompting the then national coach Vladimír Weiss to label him the country’s golden boy, but he failed to find the net at the finals. After the game against New Zealand, he angrily criticised Marek Hamšík for losing the ball in stoppage time, a mistake that led to New Zealand’s equaliser. Has been injury-hit but is still an important part of the national setup, even though he is a squad player these days.
Juraj Kucka
  • Club Milan
  • Age 29
  • Caps 46
  • Goals 5
Had to stand in for the injured Miroslav Karhan at the 2010 World Cup and he did it so well that Genoa signed him the following summer. In 2006, as a young player in a small second division club in Podbrezová, he was asked by a club journalist about his football dream: “I would like to play abroad, especially in Serie A. And the best team there is AC Milan, no question about it.” Last summer his dream came through as Milan bought him (despite the fact that he had been part owned by Internazionale previously). He is very important for the national team as he does the dirty work for the star of the team, Marek Hamšík
Viktor Pečovský
  • Club MSK Zilina
  • Age 33
  • Caps 32
  • Goals 1
The only player from the domestic league who was a regular starter, he has recovered from injuries to make an impact, hopefully, in France. From August 2012 until November 2014, he played the most minutes of allthe players in the national team squad (1,685). In his first competitive match for Slovakia, against Lithuania in 2012, he was sent off and was the target of his team-mates’ jokes after arriving at the next team meeting with a red jacket.
Miroslav Stoch Maverick
  • Club Fenerbahce
  • Age 26
  • Caps 52
  • Goals 5
Very skilful, the former Chelsea youth player has courted controversy throughout his career and lost his place in the national team squad after being caught drink-driving in 2011. Also made the headlines after using a string of offensive words in English while at Twente. Has been with Fenerbahce since 2010 but spent the whole of the 2015-16 season on loan at Bursaspor (where he improved his fitness after another loan, at al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates, the previous campaign). Can change games as an impact substitute.
Vladimír Weiss
  • Club al-Gharafa
  • Age 26
  • Caps 49
  • Goals 4
The winger’s father, Vladimír sr, took a huge risk when including him in the lineup for an important 2010 World Cup qualifying match against arch-rivals the Czech Republic while he was still a teenager. But “Vladko” played a perfect match and followed that with a fine showing in Northern Ireland, where he nutmegged Jonny Evans before crossing to Stanislav Šesták in front of an almost open goal. Afterwards, Vladimír Sr said: “He played because he knows how to, not because he is my son.”
Róbert Mak
  • Club Paok Thessaloniki
  • Age 25
  • Caps 22
  • Goals 4
Like Vladimír Weiss, Mak graduated from Manchester City’s academy. He took Stoch’s place in the national lineup and earned the team an essential three points in Ukraine during the qualifiers, scoring the only goal of the game. Mak is now a key player for Paok but during an earlier spell with Nürnberg he fell out with his manager, Dieter Hecking, after being substituted during the first half of a game against Freiburg – calling him “a f*cking coach” in Slovak on Twitter.
Ondrej Duda Young talent
  • Club Legia Warsaw
  • Age 21
  • Caps 8
  • Goals 1
Often described as a potential successor to Hamšík, Duda scored his first international goal last year against the Czech Republic. A similar impact at Euro 2016 should finally earn him a transfer from Legia Warsaw, where he has spent the last two years, to a bigger club. Duda’s father, Ondrej Sr, was in charge of the youth setup at their hometown club in Srina, although the pair never worked together. In one interview, he recalled how Ondrej once broke a table in their living room with a football – and how he used to sleep in his football boots.
Patrik Hrošovský
  • Club Viktoria Plzeň
  • Age24
  • Caps9
  • Goals0
The Viktoria Plzeň player is another option for the midfield. He is equally comfortable in defensive and more attack-minded roles, giving him an attractive quality. Adolf Sadek, the Viktoria general director, said in February that Hrošovský was being tracked by a couple of Premier League clubs.
Ján Greguš
  • Club Jablonec
  • Age 25
  • Caps 6
  • Goals 0
As he has shown in his appearances for the national team, Greguš fits the mould of modern defensive midfielders who are also confident on the ball. Was loaned for a year to Bolton Wanderers without making an appearance; almost all his club football has been played in the Czech Republic.

Slovakia defenders

Martin Škrtel
  • Club Liverpool
  • Age 31
  • Caps 80
  • Goals 5
One of the country’s best ever players, he also has an interest in politics and supported the country’s prime minister, Róbert Fico, as he tried to become president in 2014. That foray into politics proved unsuccessful but he has a long and distinguished player career behind him already, having played for Zenit St Petersburg for four years and Liverpool for eight. Made the headlines back home for interrupting an interview with the national coach, Ján Kozák, alongside his defensive colleague Ján Ďurica to celebrate wildly in front of the cameras. Nearly missed the 2010 World Cup through injury and has struggled to get into the Liverpool team this spring.
Ján Ďurica Hard man
  • Club Lokomotiv Moscow
  • Age 34
  • Caps 78
  • Goals 4
A tough defender who has been playing alongside Martin Škrtel in the central defence since 2004. Initially prone to make a lot of mistakes, he has become more and more consistent as he has got older. Has spent most of his playing career in Russia (apart from a loan spell at Hannover). A high-profile name in Slovaka due to first dating the Russian actress and model Mariya Gorban, before falling in love with Miss Slovakia 2006 Magdalena Sebestova, with whom he has a child (Sebestova is the ex-girlfriend of Filip Sebo, the former Rangers striker and good friend of Ďurica).
Tomáš Hubočan
  • Club Dynamo Moscow
  • Age 30
  • Caps 44
  • Goals 0
A very flexible player, he began his international career as a central defender but is now mainly deployed at left-back. Rarely ventures forward as the manager is aware that the player in front of him on the left, Vladimír Weiss Jr, is not the best at tracking back. In 2008, he became the most expensive player to leave the Slovakian league, costing Zenit St Petersburg €4m when he departed MSK Zelina.
Kornel Saláta
  • Club Slovan Bratislava
  • Age 31
  • Caps 36
  • Goals 2
Mainly acts as a back-up to Martin Škrtel and Ján Ďurica at centre-back, although a very important one. Nicknamed “Magyar” or “Lajos” due to his Hungarian origins, he is the only player in the national team at the moment originating from the Hungarian minority in the south of the country. When one Slovak journalist asked him what scares him the most, he replied: “Nothing.”
Dušan Švento
  • ClubKöln
  • Age30
  • Caps36
  • Goals1
One of the most attack-minded players during the qualifiers for Euro 2008, playing as a left-winger, but a following a trial at Derby County in the summer of 2007 he suffered a serious injury. That slowed his career down but he is still a very good option to have, mainly as a left-back who likes to go forward. Studied at a Catholic university before his breakthrough but did not finish his studies.
Nórbert Gyömbér
  • Club Catania
  • Age 23
  • Caps 13
  • Goals 0
A Catania player who has been loaned to Roma in 2015-16, he has struggled to play regularly. For the national team, he has the formidable duo of Martin Škrtel and Ján Ďurica ahead of him but he is a promising young player whose time will surely come. Very quiet and shy off the pitch but very different on it. His coach from Banská Bystrica, Nórbert Hrnčár, once said: “During the game, he is confident, cheeky and aggressive. He is fast and very intelligent. In my opinion, he is a bit similar to Giorgio Chiellini.”
Peter Pekarík Unsung hero
  • Club Hertha Berlin
  • Age 29
  • Caps 64
  • Goals 2
As the former national team coach Vladimír Weiss Sr said: “Pekarík is a slightly inconspicuous player, who always gives 100% on the pitch.” Has not played regularly for Hertha Berlin this season, which is a concern, but he is still monitored by several clubs, with Leicester City reportedly one of them. In 2012, he married the dancer Lujza Tarajová, who was famous in Slovakia for appearing in a TV show as a partner of the famous ice hockey player Jozef Golonka.
Milan Škriniar
  • Club Sampdoria
  • Age 21
  • Caps 2
  • Goals 0
A late, surprising call-up for the squad. Three days after making his international debut, he joined Sampdoria on a four-and-a-half year contract in 2016. Had played only three matches for the Serie A side before making the final Euro squad. “I needed an alternative in the centre of the defence and Milan Skriniar meets all the criteria,” the coach, Jan Kozak, said.

Slovakia forwards

Adam Nemec
  • Club Willem II
  • Age 30
  • Caps 20
  • Goals 6
The centre-forward position has been a problem one under Ján Kozák and during the qualifiers the well-built and physically strong Nemec was his preferred option. He combines well with Hamšík but has lost his place in the lineup due to his bit-part role at Willem II. Ladislav Borbely, a popular television pundit and co-commentator, recently said: “I did not like Nemec for some time, but in the last qualifying matches he played really well. Using his favourite playing style, with his back to goal, Nemec managed to create space and – particularly – time for the midfield.”
Michal Ďuriš
  • Club Viktoria Plzeň
  • Age 28
  • Caps 24
  • Goals 4
Although Ďuriš is smaller than Adam Nemec and seemingly less suited to the role, he took his chance perfectly with three goals in the November friendlies against Switzerland and Iceland, and is currently the team’s form striker. According to his club, Viktoria Plzeň, a Ligue 1 side offered nearly €3m for his services in the winter transfer window.
Profiles written by Lukáš Vráblik