Poland and Slovakia will meet on Monday, June 14, at a neutral ground in Saint Petersburg, for their opening fixture of EURO 2020. These two last met way back in 2013, when Slovakia avenged their loss from the reverse fixture in early 2012. Will they be able to go against the odds and do it again?
Poland vs Slovakia
Where: Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg, Russia
When: Monday, June 14 – 19:00 MSK
Weather: Cloudy, 17°C
Referee: Ovidiu Hațegan (ROU)
Poland and Slovakia will clash on Monday, for the first time since 2013, when Slovakia won 2-0. Their only previous meeting of the last decade happened in May 2012, when Poland claimed a narrow 1-0 victory in Austria.
A lot of time has passed since these two nations last clashed, and a lot has changed. One thing, however, has remained the same – the football world overrating the Eagles and their chances to succeed on the international stage.
Poland’s Injury Concerns
Poland haven’t been doing too well in their preparation for EURO 2020. Even though the Poles lost only one game out of their last five, it’s hard to be overly excited about their results.
Since March 2021, Poland managed only one win against Andorra (3-0), yet failed to see the same success against the likes of Hungary (3-3), Russia (1-1), Iceland (2-2), and England (1-2).
Looking back at the end of last year, the Eagles managed a 2-1-2 record, which includes a stalemate with Italy (0-0), two wins against Ukraine (2-0) and Bosnia & Herzegovina (3-0), as well as the losses against the Netherlands (1-2), and Italy in the reverse fixture (0-2).
As the results would suggest, 2021 wasn’t too kind for the Eagles, who aren’t playing nearly as well as they have late into 2020. But there’s another thing that makes us doubt in them ahead of this bout.
Poland are dealing with very concerning injury problems ahead of their EURO 2020 opener. While Robert Lewandowski is expected to return, Paulo Sousa won’t be able to count on Arkadiusz Milik, Arkadiusz Reca, Krzysztof Piatek, Jacek Góralski, and Kamil Grosicki.
Sousa will have to deploy replacement players in several positions for this match. That includes a replacement for defender Jan Bednarek, who might not start today.
Slovakia (Almost) Injury-Free
Unlike Poland, who will need to scramble to fill in the voids left behind injured and missing players, their next opponents, Slovakia, enter Monday’s match relatively injury-free.
Their veteran Marek Hamsik was the only player on the team who was questionable to play on Monday due to calf problems. However, he has been confirmed to step onto the pitch, giving his side a significant boost in the midfield.
With Hamsik back on the team, Štefan Tarkovič will only miss their forward Ivan Schranz, who is out with a thigh injury. Regardless, the Slovakian boss has plenty of players at his disposal to fill in the gap, including Ondrej Duda, Lukas Haraslin, and Robert Mak.
Slovakia enter this bout without a single defeat in their last five outings. During that stretch, they have beaten Russia (2-1) and forced three draws against Cyprus (0-0), Malta (0-0), Bulgaria (1-1), and Austria (0-0).
Not exactly flashy results, but the Repre have proven to be a very sturdy team that rarely gives up unnecessary goals. Their trait will be that much more valuable against a team missing key players who could cause some problems to Tarkovič’s backline.
Poland vs Slovakia Betting Picks
As noted in our EURO 2020 Group E preview, Poland are good, but not great, and seem heavily overrated by the market. This is a team that is constantly being regarded as a side that has the potential to emulate historic miracle runs, aking to Greece in 2004, but we don’t see it.
At the same time, we don’t believe Slovakia have the talent to make much noise at EURO 2020, albeit they’re a very resilient team that has enough talent to take on anyone in Group E. Slovakia should keep this one close.
Prediction: Slovakia +0.50 Asian Handicap (same as Double Chance) – 2.11 at Betfair
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