Recaps and game analysis to follow one or two hours after each match.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Group F: Slovakia

Do not underestimate Slovakia, while the lower FIFA ranking, and the abundance of less-than-experienced players may catch your notice, the team is tough as nails.  When qualification started, everyone discounted them. Yet they managed to beat their former federal partners, the Czech Republic, breeze past Poland, and put a damper on Slovenia.

Can they repeat the feat? In Group F, "Repre" have to battle out Italy and Paraguay for a spot to move on, and those two teams will be fighting hard lest they dash the hopes of their respective nations. You can probably put Slovakia down for a win over New Zealand, as it is very likely to happen, but I wouldn't be surprised by a draw or two against the others. With Martin Skrtel [pictured] of Liverpool holding the back line, Slovakia has a realistic chance to sit on a draw and come out of it unscathed. However, that could be playing right into Italy's hands, as they prefer that type of play as well, but it could probably frustrate the South Americans.

As a result, Slovakia will need to find a way to score some goals, and that could be left up to the midfielder Pavol Hamsik, the captain and team inspiration. Realistically, to move on, Slovakia would need at the very worst to beat New Zealand, then draw to either Paraguay or Italy with enough goal differential to break a tie in their favor.

My Prediction: Group F 3rd Place.

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