Aug 07 2012

Slovakia Squad for Denmark

Published by at 10:55 am under International and tagged:

Below is the squad chosen by Slovakia’s joint coaches Stanislav Griga and Michal Hipp for the friendly away to Denmark, in Odense next Wednesday (August 15th).


GOALKEEPERS: Ján Mucha (FC Everton), Dušan Perniš (Pogoň Štetín), Dušan Kuciak (Legia Varšava)

DEFENDERS: Peter Pekarík (VfL Wolfsburg), Kornel Saláta (FK Rostov), Tomáš Hubočan (Zenit Petrohrad), Martin Škrtel (FC Liverpool), Lukáš Pauschek (Slovan Bratislava), Radoslav Zabavník (1. FSV Mainz 05)

MIDFIELDERS: Juraj Kucka (FC Janov), Michal Breznaník (Slovan Liberec), Marek Hamšík (SSC Neapol), Vladimír Weiss ml. (Delfino Pescara), Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahce Istanbul), Róbert Mak (1. FC Norimberg), Viktor Pečovský (MŠK Žilina), Ľubomír Guldan (Ludogorec Razgrad), Marek Sapara (Trabazonspor AS)

FORWARDS: Marek Bakoš (Viktoria Plzeň), Martin Jakubko (FC Amkar Perm)


GOALKEEPERS: Marián Kelemen (Slask Wroclaw), Marián Kello

DEFENDERS: Ľubomír Michalík (Carlisle United), Jozef Piaček (MŠK Žilina), Ján Ďurica (Lokomotiv Moskva)

MIDFIELDERS: Tomáš Hučko (Dukla Banská Bystrica), Tomáš Kóňa (FK Senica), Kamil Kopúnek (Slovan Bratislava), Roman Procházka (PFC Levski Sofia), Karim Guédé (SC Freiburg)

FORWARDS: Michal Ďuriš (Viktoria Plzeň), Ivan Lietava (FC Vorskla Poltava), Stanislav Šesták (Bursaspor), Erik Jendrišek (SC Freiburg), Filip Hološko (Besiktas Istanbul)

There are obviously several observations you could make about these selections. There are three newcomers to the squad ; Pauschek, Mak and Pečovský. The first two are getting their chance partly because they have been two of the best performers, and biggest personalities, in the Under-21 team. It is possible, however, that Pauschek would have had to wait a little longer were it not for injuries to two other left-backs, Marek Čech and Dušan Švento. Even Radoslav Zabavník, who has made the squad and can play at left-back, is said to be carrying a knock. Griga and Hipp will be consulting with Mainz during the next few days over whether or not he should play. Mak, an exciting attacking player has been carefully managed by Nuremberg and this looks a good time to see what he might do at senior international level.

Pečovský’s nomination is a reward for his outstanding form for Žilina over the last year. As always, there is a question mark over whether someone who has only played league football in Slovakia will cope with the international game. Still, as Griga points out, Pečovský was one Žilina player who didn’t disappoint during his side’s Champions League defeat to Hapoel Ironi Kirjat Shmona last month. It is also true that Slovakia are looking for the right man to play the holding midfield role. It is debatable whether Pečovský will emerge as the outstanding candidate but he is at least another alternative.

The biggest surprise is the return of Martin Jakubko, who announced his international retirement following the 2010 World Cup. He had an excellent spell for Banská Bystrica last autumn and then signed for Russian club Amkar Perm, where he continues to perform well. Griga reveals that Hipp has been in regular contact with the striker over a possible comeback. Jakubko is 32 now, but, with his ability to play with his back to goal and occupy defenders, he may have a decent couple of years left in him.

Some prominent names are missing from the main squad, notably Karim Guédé, Stanislav Šesták, Erik Jendrišek and Filip Hološko. The omission of the last three, all forwards, is all the evidence you need to know that Slovakia have been struggling painfully for goals for some time now. Guédé has not convinced in his international career to date but he finished last season in decent form for Bundesliga side Freiburg, and his chance will surely come again. The players I would consider most unfortunate to be left out are Roman Procházka and Tomáš Kóňa, both of whom had decent games as substitutes in the last friendly, away to Holland in May. It could be that Procházka is being given a break to adjust to his recent move to Levski Sofia. Meanwhile, Kóňa’s club, Senica, have endured a difficult start to this season, though his own form seems to be holding up reasonably well.

Griga, Hipp and SFZ can hardly be accused of giving their players an easy schedule of friendlies. Since the last game in the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign,Slovakia have faced Turkey and Holland away and Poland on neutral territory.  The Denmark game hardly represents a drop in the level of difficulty. There is a fairly recent reference point too; Slovakia hosted the Danes in another friendly, in Trnava, just 17 months ago. They lost 2-1 and will hope to avoid a repeat of the first two minutes of that game, when Kornel Saláta’s own goal got the visitors off to a flying start. The rest of the contest, by contrast, saw the sort of performance the coaching team would surely settle for next Wednesday.  

James Baxter

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