Euro Betting: Slovakia vs Spain, 23 June
Final Group Games | Group E | Seville
Their Euros So Far
A match with two teams very finely poised. For Euro first-timers Slovakia, they have to be delighted with their position, even though a final group game defeat could potentially eliminate them from the competition. Not only did they beat close neighbours, Poland in their opening game, they were unfortunate not to take a share of the spoils against Sweden, missing a penalty in a narrow 1-0 loss. The fact they go into the final game a point ahead of Spain and two ahead of Poland, represents a great position and a great opportunity of reaching the knockouts.
For serial Euro winners Spain, it must feel quite poor. Dominating possession as you’d expect, but far less clinical than La Roja sides of the past. They couldn’t find a way past Sweden for their opener – in spite of enjoying 85% possession – and for their second game, they couldn’t hold on to a lead and they miss a penalty that may have won them the game. Thus leaving them with a considerable uphill finishing task in their final group game here.
Slovakia will progress to the next stages if they beat Spain. They could also advance if they draw and Sweden don’t lose.
If Slovakia, Sweden and Poland all finish on 4 points, ahead of Spain, they will then be split on goal difference between the matches played against one another, with the team in third spot potentially going through as one of the best third placed teams across the groups.
For Spain, they must dig a little deeper. A win will take them through. If they draw, they will finish third unless Poland win. If they do finish third, their point tally of 3 will not be enough to award them the status and privilege as one of the best third placed teams across the group to advance.
All six meetings between the nations have been competitive games. The most recent was for the Euro 2016 qualifiers, with Spain finishing as 2-0 winners and goals from Jordi Alba and Andres Iniesta. The earlier game was a landmark occasion for both sides, for very different reasons. Slovakia pulled off a famous win over Spain, a 2-1 victory that ended La Roja’s sequence of 37 European championship and World Cup qualifying matches without defeat. A run going back to 2006, with Juraj Kucka and Miroslav Stoch being the goal-scoring conquerors that day.
The Slovakians and Spanish also met during the play-offs for the 2006 World Cup, Spain going through over the two-legs, and also qualifying games for the France 1998 World Cup, with Spain winning there too.
Will Slovakia slay the Spaniards? Or will La Roja finally find their form?