Slovakia booked its place at a third successive European Championship finals with a slick showing in the qualifiers under former coffee salesman Francesco Calzona and will expect to advance from Group E in Germany.

It has Romania, Ukraine and Belgium in its section and opens its campaign against the Belgians in Frankfurt on June 17.

The team is managed by Italian Calzona, who finished the season in a dual role as coach of Serie A side Napoli when he replaced Walter Mazzarri in February.

Calzona’s focus has therefore been away from the national team to a degree, bar keeping an eye on Stanislav Lobotka, who has been a key part of the Naples club’s midfield this season.

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Previous Euro performances: Taken part twice, best performance last 16 in 2016

Other: World Cup last 16 in 2010

FIFA ranking: 48th

Nickname: Slovenski sokoli (Slovak falcons), Repre

Coach: Francesco Calzona (ITA)

Star players: Martin Dubravka, Milan Skriniar, Stanislav Lobotka

Main clubs: Slovan Bratislava, MSK Zilina

How did it qualify: Second in Group J behind Portugal

Pre-Euro friendlies:

Slovakia 4 San Marino 0

Slovakia v Wales (June 9)

“Putting together 25-30 players from at least 11 or 12 different championships with different roles and mentalities was the hardest part,” Calzona previously told Reuters of the successful qualification campaign.

“Getting them to all think along the same lines, and in a short time, was really difficult. But we always play to win.”

Calzona admits his time as a coffee salesman 20 years ago left its mark on him.

“That period made me understand many things, it was a fantastic experience,” he said. “Still some customers call me asking for coffee.”

He was appointed by Slovakia in August 2022, becoming the first coach of non-Czechoslovak origin in the country’s history.


The team qualified for Germany with some ease, winning seven and drawing one of their 10 games and finishing behind group winners Portugal, which had a 100 per cent record.

Defensively solid but not all that eye-catching in attack, they share the goals around, with winger Lukas Haraslin leading their scorers’ list in the qualifiers with three in five games.

Long-time number one Martin Dubravka is their goalkeeper and captain Milan Skriniar the key man in the heart of defence, looking to build on some good form with Paris St. Germain in the 2023-24 season.

Lobotka provides the defensive shield in midfield, while up front it will be interesting to see if Calzona places his trust in 18-year-old Feyenoord winger Leo Sauer, who has one cap.

Robert Bozenik is likely to lead the line but is hardly prolific with six goals in his 39 internationals.

The country won the European title in 1976 as part of Czechoslovakia and also have two bronze medals from 1960 and 1980.

Since playing as Slovakia only, it reached the last 16 in 2016 but were ousted in the group stage at the last tournament.


Goalkeepers: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United/ENG), Henrich Ravas (New England/USA), Marek Rodak (Fulham/ENG), Dominik Takac (Spartak Trnava)

Defenders: Vernon De Marco (Hatta Club/UAE), Norbert Gyomber (Salernitana/ITA), David Hancko (Feyenoord/NED), Matus Kmet (Trencin), Sebastian Kosa (Spartak Trnava), Adam Obert (Cagliari/ITA), Peter Pekarik (Hertha Berlin/GER), Milan Skriniar (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Michal Tomic (Slavia Prague/CZE), Denis Vavro (FC Copenhagen/DEN)

Midfielders: Laszlo Benes (Hamburg/GER), Matus Bero (Bochum/GER), Ondrej Duda (Verona/ITA), Dominik Holly (Jablonec/CZE), Patrik Hrosovsky (Genk/BEL), Jakub Kadak (Luzern/SUI), Juraj Kucka (Slovan Bratislava), Stanislav Lobotka (Napoli/ITA), Tomas Rigo (Banik Ostrava/CZE)

Forwards: Robert Bozenik (Boavista/POR), David Duris (Ascoli/ITA), Lukas Haraslin (Sparta Prague/CZE), Robert Polievka (Dukla Banska Bystrica), Leo Sauer (Feyenoord/NED), Ivan Schranz (Slavia Prague/CZE), David Strelec (Slovan Bratislava), Tomas Suslov (Verona/ITA), Lubomir Tupta (Slovan Liberec/CZE)


Slovakia vs Belgium – June 17, Monday – 9:30 PM

Slovakia vs Ukraine – June 21, Friday – 6:30 PM

Slovakia vs Romania – June 26, Wednesday – 9:30 PM


All of Slovakia’s matches at Euro 2024 will be telecasted on the Sony Sports Network. The matches will also be live-streamed on the SonyLIV app.

(With inputs from Reuters and AFP)