Nov 13 2012

Czech Rep v Slovakia Preview

Published by at 11:32 am under International

Slovakia say goodbye to 2012’s programme of international football with a friendly away to neighbours the Czech Republic on Wednesday. The game is, of course, a local derby and, since it is being played in the North Moravian city of Olomouc, not far from the Slovak border, should have a genuinely neighbourly feel to it.

The main discussion points surrounding the Slovak squad are the recall of striker Jakub Sylvestra, and Martin Škrtel’s illness. Sylvestr last represented his country in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia more than two years ago. Since then, he has had a somewhat troubled spell with Dinamo Zagreb but is currently in good form for his new club, German second-tier side Erzgebirge Aue. It is probably putting too much pressure on him to suggest that he could be the answer to Slovakia’s current goalscoring problems but, still aged only 23, his best years are surely still ahead.

Škrtel is suffering with a virus, apparently caught from his young son. His replacement in the squad is Marián Čišovský, who joins two Viktoria Plzeň team-mates in Marek Bakoš and Michal Ďuriš. Vladimír Weiss and Michal Breznaník have injury worries and are unlikely to play.

For all the local interest, you have to wonder at the point of international friendlies at this time of year, especially since club schedules in no way make allowances for them. Stanislav Griga and Michal Hipp arranged the Slovak squad’s initial together for Sunday evening in Senec but only eleven players were present. Even Žilina midfielder Viktor Pečovský, one of three Corgoň Liga players selected, would have arrived at the last minute, having just figured in his club’s Sunday fixture against Trenčín. But at least Griga and Hipp can go into the game in a fairly relaxed frame of mind. Czech coach Michal Bílek seems to have been under pressure since the day he was appointed and there has been talk that defeat to the Slovaks may see him sacked.

I wouldn’t care to see Bílek out of a job (from across the border, it’s difficult to see why he is quite so reviled) but one not so secret hope I do have for Wednesday evening is that the great and good of the SFZ look around Olomouc’s ground and feel utterly ashamed. The Andrův stadión is not the biggest or best the CzechRepublic can offer, but it is bigger than all Slovak venues bar Trnava and is better than all except (arguably) Žilina. It certainly puts Pasienky into its proper perspective. And, with a sprinkling of Sigma Olomouc players in the Czech squad, there should be something for the locals to get behind, whatever their feelings about the coach.

The Slovak squad is below :

Dušan Kuciak (Legia Varšava)
Dušan Perniš (Pogoň Štetín)
Matúš Putnocký (ŠK Slovan Bratislava)

Peter Pekarík (Hertha BSC Berlín)
Michal Breznaník (FC Amkar Perm)
Marián Čišovský (FC Viktoria Plzeň)
Tomáš Hubočan (Zenit Petrohrad)
Kornel Saláta (FK Rostov)
Radoslav Zabavník (1. FSV Mainz 05)
Lukáš Pauschek (ŠK Slovan Bratislava)

Vladimír Weiss (Delfino Pescara)
Juraj Kucka (FC Janov)
Viktor Pečovský (MŠK Žilina)
Ľubomír Guldan (Ludogorets Razgrad)
Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahce Istanbul)
Marek Hamšík (SSC Neapol)
Marek Sapara (Trabzonspor AS)

Marek Bakoš (FC Viktoria Plzeň)
Michal Ďuriš (FC Viktoria Plzeň)
Jakub Sylvestr (FC Erzgebirge Aue)

 James Baxter

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Czech Rep v Slovakia Preview”

  1.   Fat Eckon 16 Nov 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Nice piece, James.

    Sorry Slovakia didn’t get the result but, as you say, these games are coming at a club-centric time of year and the number of inevitable call offs make them imperfect litmus tests. I mean Scotland actually won a match away from home on Wednesday so you can imagine how many Luxembourg players must have been rested for that one :-)

    Again, with you 100% on the stadium comments. I watched the highlights of Northern Ireland’s game with Azerbaijan on Wednesday (Great result for Berti Vogts – always knew the SFA acted too quickly in getting rid him :-) ) and as Windsor Park is the only one of the traditional “home nations” venues I haven’t been to, as well as an Archibald Leitch design originally, I always pay special attention to the background when seeing Norn Iron at home.

    Two sides of the ground are excellent but two are works in progress/largely uninhabitable. So I checked up the capacity out of interest and it’s almost exactly the same as the Andrův stadion. Having read your preview here I scoured t’internet for a pic of Olomouc’s venue – absolutely beautiful.

    Obviously I’m going to be biased when it’s done up in red, white and blue :-) but that steep, uncovered banking curve of seats behind the goal is breathtaking, like a miniature version of what Marseille did to the Velodrome for France 1998. Theres a message in there for Northern ireland and Slovakia … as well as yet another reason for me to bemoan the fact they didn’t square of the ends when they redeveloped Hampden.

  2.   StaryJazvecon 16 Nov 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Worse than England. Sack’m all. Also I noticed Karhan went to the joke tennis bullshit at the NTC, which clashed w/ this. Did he know the football wld also be a load of non-trying BS or does his Mrs. fancy Nole, we wonder.

  3.   Jameson 21 Nov 2012 at 6:58 am

    Luckily for me, I didn’t actually see the game, as I was on the way to Holland at the time.

    Sounds like a desperate performance by Svk, with Griga saying not one positive thing came out of it. Pekarik subbed after 17 minutes after being at fault for the first two Cz goals. That could be him out of the set-up for a while. In Sport, only Hubocan was given more than 4/10. Some (Zabavnik, Guede, Sylvestr) only got 2. Missing Skrtel is an obvious factor, but collapsing like that w/out him is not a good sign.

    Alex, dead right, Andruv stadion is a cracker. I was a regular there in the late 90s/early 2000s and used to live 5 mins from that imitation Marseille curved bank at the one end. I sat in the very back row of it for two big(gish) games – Sigma-Vigo in UEFA Cup, 2001 (Sigma pulled back four goals of a 6-0 agg deficit in 15 mins) Cz-Moldova in EC qualifier in June 2002 (Cz won 5-0). Fantastic ground with a bit of everything but also a real unity to it. Zilina’s as good facility-wise but every other Slovak venue is light years behind.

    Good to see the Scots beat another ‘L’ team. Could they start negotiations to get Liberia, Lesotho, Laos etc into Europe? No, I reckon that squad will start improving under a decent coach.

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