Slovakia vs Ukraine

Merkur Spiel-Arena in Dusseldorf forms the backdrop for Ukraine’s ‘make or break’ Euro 2024 clash against Slovakia.

Slovakia kicked off their third consecutive Euros appearance with a bang, upsetting the apple cart with a 1-0 win against Group E favorites Belgium to get in the driver’s seat to progress into the knockouts for just the second time as an independent nation. Francesco Calzona’s side needed VAR’s help twice to dispatch the Belgians and uphold their outrageous record since the start of his stewardship in August 2022 (W10, D5, L4). Equally impressive in the Euro 2024 qualifying, the Falcons breezed into the tournament with an outstanding record (W7, D1, L2), with all seven wins coming ‘to nil.’ Slovakia’s rock-solid defense continues to deliver the goods, racking up three consecutive clean sheets in the build-up to their first clash against Ukraine since a thumping 4-1 win in the 2018 UEFA Nations League.

That defeat knocked the Ukrainians down from a three-game unbeaten H2H run (W2, D1), and they’ll be out to embark on a new streak, pressured to take three points following a disheartening 3-0 loss to Romania on day one. Anything other than a win would probably deny Serhiy Rebrov’s side a chance to reach the Euros knockouts for the second successive tournament. But their paltry return of one win in four matches (D1, L2) can’t inspire much confidence. On a more positive note, Ukraine’s last back-to-back defeats date back to November 2020. On top of that, they’ve only lost six of their 30 internationals since suffering a quarter-final exit at Euro 2020 three summers ago (W13, D11).

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