Slovakia vs. Belarus – prediction, team news, lineups



There is little importance attached to the fixture, with the visitors already relegated and the hosts unable to claim top spot.

Match preview

Milan Skriniar celebrates scoring for Slovakia against Poland at Euro 2020 on June 14, 2021© Reuters

Indeed, having been relegated from League B last time out, Slovakia would have expected to bounce straight back as one of the highest-ranked nations in the Nations League’s third tier.

Instead, they have performed pretty dismally, taking only six points from five matches to sit below Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan in the group.

Former Napoli assistant manager Francesco Calzona was drafted in as Stefan Tarkovic‘s permanent replacement in the dugout last month, but the Italian failed to make a positive impact in his first game in charge on Thursday, losing 2-1 to Azerbaijan to fall to third in League C Group 3.

The Falcons looked to have snatched a point when Erik Jirka converted a penalty in injury-time, but Azerbaijan were not to be denied their first competitive victory on the road for more than two years, with Hojjat Haghverdi scoring a dramatic winner in the 95th minute.

For a nation that has qualified for each of the last two European Championship’s, Slovakia’s dramatic dip in standards will have their fans feeling understandably concerned, meaning there is significant pressure on Calzona to ensure that he picks up his first win against Belarus on Sunday and restore a fraction of morale within the dressing room.

Belarus' Vitali Lisakovic celebrates scoring their fourth goal with teammates on March 27, 2021© Reuters

Belarus, meanwhile, had their relegation to the Nations League’s bottom tier confirmed after a 2-1 defeat away to Kazakhstan on Thursday.

Pavel Savitski gave the visitors hope by equalising in first half injury-time, but Bakhtiyar Zaynutdinov‘s late strike sealed his side’s promotion at Belarus’ expense.

As a result, the White Wings will compete against the likes of San Marino and Liechtenstein during the next Nations League campaign, although perhaps a better opportunity to rack up some wins may be precisely what the nation needs in order to rebuild for the future.

Whether Georgy Kondratyev is retained as the manager to oversee that process remains to be seen, with avoiding defeat in Slovakia on Sunday only likely to enhance his chances of doing so.

Team News

Juraj Kucka in action for Slovakia in June 2021© Reuters

Slovakia will have Juraj Kucka available to select again after the midfielder served his one-match suspension against Azerbaijan, and he could replace Matus Bero in the engine room.

However, Ondrej Duda remains suspended after being sent off against Kazazkhstan, so the FC Koln attacking midfielder was not called up to the squad as a result.

After a poor defensive display in the surprise defeat to Azerbaijan, Martin Valjent could come in for Lubomir Satka alongside captain Milan Skriniar.

Belarus, meanwhile, appear to have no injury or suspension concerns.

Given the lack of importance riding on Sunday’s trip to Slovakia, Ilya Lukashevich will hope to make his international debut at some stage after being an unused substitute against Kazakhstan.

Slovakia possible starting lineup:
Rodak; Vallo, Valjent, Skriniar, Hancko; Kucka, Lobotka, Benes; Regali, Bozenik, Jirka

Belarus possible starting lineup:
Khatkevich; Palyakow, Shvyatsow, Yudenkov; Shevchenko, Klimovich, Yablonski, Ebong, Pyachenin; Bogomolskiy, Savitski

Source Link

Leave a Comment