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ESPN FC's Euro 2016 awards

Euro 2016

Honigstein: Germany soar past Slovakia

The Match

Vladimir Weiss and Norbert Gyomber struggle as Slovakia lose to Germany

Slovakia didn't manage to upset the odds again, even if they were confident before the round-of-16 tie against Germany.

Coach Jan Kozak had to make changes due to injuries, including wonderkid Ondrej Duda and left-back Tomas Hubocan. He wanted his team to defend well, hence he named five defenders in his team, with young centre-back Milan Skriniar playing as a holding midfielder.

Slovakia sat deep and waiting for their chance on a quick counter-attack. However, they conceded an early goal to Jerome Boateng after a horrible tactical mistake, when there was no Slovak player in front of the box during Germany's corner kick. Then Germany simply dominated the game, with Slovakia offering little other than Juraj Kucka's missed chance from Peter Pekarik's cross.

Matus Kozacik made several miraculous saves that prevented Slovakia from total humiliation, including keeping out Mesut Ozil's penalty after Martin Skrtel's needless foul on Mario Gomez.

Hardly anyone expected Slovakia's to go through, even a draw to take the game to penalties would have been a great result. But Slovakia were totally toothless in attack and their defence performed poorly. A lot of players who should have been leaders on the pitch underperformed.

As Kozak told his postmatch news conference: "When there are two or three players who don't fulfil your tactical instructions, there is not a big chance to be successful in such as match."

Game Details

Player Ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Matus Kozacik, 8 - Kozacik was up against it, but managed to keep out much of what was thrown at him - including Ozil's poor penalty. He played as well as against England in the group stage, however, in that match he kept a clean sheet. In the case of all three goals, there was nothing more he could have done.

DF Peter Pekarik, 7 - Pekarik was arguably the most consistent Slovak player at the tournament, having played against Germany with a special mask protecting his broken nose. When he saw an opportunity, he tried also to shift forward, however, he had almost no support.

DF Martin Skrtel, 6 - Liverpool's centre-back produced the push on Mario Gomez which resulted in the penalty. He has to be more careful in his own box. Skrtel was not as sure as Slovakia's fans are used to and it was reflected in the shape of the whole defence.

DF Jan Durica, 6 - He made no big mistakes, however, as in Skrtel's case, this was not his best match. His performance was influenced by the poor play of left-back Norbert Gyomber, too.

DF Norbert Gyomber, 4 - It is fair to say that Gyomber is not a natural left-back and Kozak opted for him due to injuries of Hubocan and Dusan Svento. Nobody expected runs down the wings and frequent crosses into Germany's box, but he was also poor at the back and with the ball in general. He has to improve a lot if he wants to regularly at Roma next season.

MF Milan Skriniar, 7 - It was a tough test for the young Sampdoria centre-back, who had to play as a defensive midfielder. But his strong performance suggested that he could be a future leader of the national team.

Matus Kozacik saves Mesut Ozil's penalty to keep Slovakia in the game.

MF Patrik Hrosovsky, 6 - Hrosovsky returned to the team, after also playing against Wales in the opening match, and he gave proof of his potential for the future.

MF Juraj Kucka, 4 - This certainly was not his tournament. Against Germany, he did not stop Julian Draxler before he created the second goal and was not as dominant or aggressive in midfield as he was during qualifying.

MF Marek Hamsik, 7 - As always, Hamsik played a decent game, however, he is not a wizard and cannot be superb when other players do not show up. He had no support from the back, but he at least worked hard and tried to be useful with his tireless pressing, running and motivating of his teammates.

MF Vladimir Weiss, 4 - Weiss's performance was not good at all, gifting away possession and not able to track into defence to help Gyomber on the left side. As all matches showed, his stamina is poor and he should consider a return to Europe from Al-Gharafa in the Qatar Stars League.

FW Michal Duris, 5 - Duris featured against Wales when only desperate long passes went up to him. It was the same here and there was almost nothing he could have done against Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels.


MF Jan Gregus, 6 - Kozak sent him on after half-time after not featuring at the tournament. Gregus provided a few intelligent passes, but he had to spend a majority of the time in deep defence.

FW Stanislav Sestak, 6 - It was difficult for him and he struggled to make an impact.

DF Kornel Salata, N/R - He was sent on in 83rd minute just to give him a taste of Euro 2016.

Lukas Vrablik is ESPN FC's Slovakia blogger for Euro 2016. Twitter: @LukasVrablik


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