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England vs Slovakia – Euro 2024 Match Preview

England take on Slovakia in the Round of 16 at Euro 2024 this evening, with the Three Lions looking to improve from an underwhelming – if successful – group-stage campaign.

Here is all you need to know about Sunday’s clash in Gelsenkirchen.

Form

England: WLWDD

England are under pressure to deliver in the knockout rounds after a group-stage campaign that saw the Three Lions labour through. Despite arguably the strongest forward line in the tournament, Gareth Southgate’s side mustered just two goals and only two nations had a lower XG.

Southgate will argue his side has impressed defensively and England have the best XGA (Expected Goals Against) figure at Euro 2024, a foundation from which to build if the Three Lions are to go deep into the tournament. Frustration has come from a lack of fluidity from England, with Southgate’s safety-first approach criticised given the talent at his disposal.

The England manager has said the tournament starts now for his team and a favourable side of the draw, despite potential future banana skins in Switzerland, Netherlands and Austria among others if Slovakia can be beaten, gives the Three Lions a real chance of going far.

Phil Foden is expected to be available after briefly returning to the UK to attend the birth of his third child, while Kobbie Mainoo and Cole Palmer are pushing for inclusion after eye-catching cameos against Slovenia. Luke Shaw, however, is not fit to start. The left-back is yet to feature in a fitness gamble that has backfired to date.

 

Slovakia: WWWLD

Slovakia are into the knockout rounds after progressing from an impossibly tight Group E, where all four teams finished level on four points. Francesco Calzona’s side have been defensively resolute and upset Belgium in their opening fixture, before losing to Ukraine and earning a draw with Romania.

Milan Skriniar captains the side and the Paris Saint-Germain centre-back leads an organised defence, with Feyenoord’s David Hancko – linked with joining former manager Arne Slot at Liverpool this summer – impressive at full-back to date. The key to the side, however, is Stanislav Lobotka. The Napoli midfielder has been metronomic and an England midfield lacking balance will need to shut down the 29-year-old.

Slovakia have failed to beat England in six previous meetings since becoming an independent nation, though did hold the Three Lions to a goalless draw at Euro 2016.

Last Meeting

England 2-1 Slovakia, 7th September 2017, 2018 World Cup qualification

England recovered from an early setback to beat Slovakia at Wembley and edge closer to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Three Lions fell behind to Stanislav Lobotka’s third-minute goal as Slovakia threatened an upset, capitalising on a mistake from Marcus Rashford to open the scoring.

Rashford responded with a match-winning performance. The Manchester United teenager’s corner was turned in by Eric Dier as England levelled before half-time before Rashford fired home a winner past Martin Dubravka just before the hour.

Predicted Lineups

England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier; Rice, Mainoo, Bellingham; Saka, Foden, Kane.

Slovakia: Dubravka; Pekarik, Vavro, Skriniar, Hancko; Kucka, Lobotka, Duda; Schranz, Bozenik, Haraslin.

Who is the referee?

Halil Umit Meler (Turkey).

What channel is England vs Slovakia on?

England vs Slovakia will be shown on ITV1 and streamed live via ITVX.

What time is kick-off?

Kick-off in Gelsenkirchen will be 5 pm (BST).

Odds

England – 21/50

Draw – 16/5

Slovakia – 8/1

Read – Southgate calls for England to play without fear at Euro 2024

See more – Dismal England have two positives to cling onto ahead of Euro 2024 knockouts 

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