Spain takes on Slovakia for their closing encounter in their EURO 2020 group stages on Wednesday. The mouth-watering encounter will take place at the Estadio La Cartuja in Sevilla. The game promises to be a thriller as a win will ensure guaranteed qualification to the knockout stages of the tournament.

History of the Rivalry

Both nations faced each other only six times in the past. Traditionally, Spain has dominated the Slovakians in the history of the game. In the six encounters they have between them, Spain managed to laugh the last laugh 4 times. While one game ended in a draw, Slovakia won the remaining fixture. Thus, that comes as their solo win over La Roja.

The last time they met each other, Spain dominated the game quite easily with more than 80% ball possession. They won the game with a comfortable 2-0 margin. Legend Andres Iniesta scored in that game for the Spanish. The match was a part of the EURO 2016 qualifier fixture.

Five key aspects to look forward to

  • Spain failed to get the three points in the tournament so far. They have drawn their last two games and will be desperate for a win against the Slovaks. Anything less than three points will put their future in the competition at huge risk.
  • Slovakia has managed just two wins from their last eight games across all competitions, picking up four draws and losing on two occasions. However, they won their first game against Poland and were equally brilliant against Sweden, even though the latter team won. They would definitely fancy their chances against the not-so-confident Spanish team.
  • Goalscoring remains a major issue for both teams. While Spain is creating chances but failing to convert them, Slovakia has failed to create chances in the first place itself. Slovakia so far has registered only two shots on target across both the games.
Morata looks in disbelief after a missed chance.
  • Spain will once again bank on their swift gameplay against Slovakia. The strategy has helped the Spanish keep control over the game in both the matches they played. Youngsters have also stepped up for the team, something which pleases coach Luis Enrique very much.
  • Both the teams like to keep possession of the ball. With two mastermind midfielders Busquets and Hamšík going face to face, the midfield battle will be one to watch out for!

Key individual battles

  • Sergio Busquets vs Marek Hamšík

Two legendary midfielders will go face to face in the coming fixture. As mentioned above, both the players have been in the game for a long time and they form the pivot in the midfield for their respective sides. Sergio came back to the Spanish side from his injury in the last game against Poland. On the other hand, Hamsik’s passing in EURO 2020 accounts for more than 90% accuracy. Hence, an epic faceoff awaits in the middle of the park for all the viewers.

  • Alvaro Morata vs Martin Dúbravka

Although Alvaro Morata failed to convert numerous chances in the competition, that doesn’t hide the fact that he is a lethal striker and possibly Slovakia’s biggest threat. The Juventus man scored Spain’s equaliser in the last game against Poland. He will be raring to make his chances count against the Slovaks as well. The biggest obstruction in his path lies the Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka. Martin has been excellent in EURO 2020 as well, conceding only twice in as many games.

Author’s take

Spain, with their heavy tactical mastermind, should find this game easy for them to win. However, this doesn’t mean disrespecting their opponents in any way. Slovakia in return will also fancy their chances and try to get the all-important three points. To conclude, all three results are possible in this epic game of football, predicting a scoreline might be the toughest job to do!

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By Debojyoti Sarkar

Rabbits don't win marathons, the tortoise does.