Our prediction for this Euro 2024 match:
Buoyed by a hard-fought 1-0 win over Luxembourg, Slovakia will look to seal their spot at the 2024 European Championship finals when they take on Iceland at Tehelne pole. The Slovaks are with one foot at the Euro, but boss Francesco Calzona must warn his men against complacency. A man to keep an eye on in the home team will be Napoli midfielder Stanislav Lobotka, while Genk midfielder Patrik Hrosovsky misses out through suspension.
The Icelanders, on the other hand, face a must-win situation in the penultimate group game. As the visitors are likely to adopt an attack-minded approach in Thursday’s clash, we believe that the hosts will have a number of opportunities to seal the victory on the break. Even though there are no fresh selection worries in the away team ahead of the trip to Bratislava, home win should be considered.
Highlighted Player (Stanislav Lobotka):
Born in Trencin on November 25, 1994, Stanislav Lobotka is a Slovakia international who plays for Celta Vigo in La Liga. Lobotka began his youth career at his hometown club AAC Sparta Trencin and he made his senior debut for fellow local club Trencin. In 2013 he signed a loan deal with Dutch side Ajax, but he played for Jong Ajax during the 2013/2014 season.
In the summer of 2014, the Slovakian midfielder returned to Trencin, where he made 74 appearances in the league in total. In 2015 Stanislav Lobotka joined Danish side Nordsjaelland shortly before the transfer window closed. Lobotka made his debut in the Danish top flight against Brondby on August 30, 2015.
Two years later he decided to make a step forward in his career, signing a five-year contract with La Liga side Celta Vigo. Speaking of his international career, the Celta Vigo midfielder made his Slovakia debut against Austria in November2016. It has to be noted that Lobotka became the first Slovak to score at Wembley, finding the net in a 2018 World Cup qualifier against England.
Highlighted Team (Iceland):
Iceland had little to no success during the first 60 years of entering the FIFA competitions, failing to qualify to a single major tournament in that period, but the team then went on to make tremendous progress at the start of the 21st century.
The Nordic side narrowly missed out on a place at the 2014 World Cup, losing in the play-off to Croatia, but they then enjoyed a thoroughly impressive qualifying campaign to reach the Euro 2016, taking 20 points from 10 matches to leave Turkey and Netherlands trailing in their wake.
As a result, the generation featuring players like Gylfi Sigurdsson, Aron Gunnarsson, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Emil Hallfredsson will go down as one of the most successful in the national team history and it could be quite some time before another team repeat their success. Even if he was only used as a bit-part player during the Euro 2016 qualifiers, Eidur Gudjohnsen has got to be mentioned as the first Icelandic footballer to have played for top European sides.