Our prediction for this Nations League match:
Belarus and Slovakia go head to head at Stadion Karadjordje (neutral location) in their UEFA Nations League opener. Belarus do not play in front of home fans due to the Ukraine crisis, and it is no wonder the bookies see them as underdogs in Friday’s clash. It has to be noted that Georgi Kondratjev has decided to rely on young and new faces for the Slovakia clash. The visitors, on the other hand, aim to make amends for the unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign.
Slovakia are more of a team than Belarus, and seeing that the game will be played in Novi Sad, Serbia, anything but a routine away win would be a major surprise. Keep in mind, though, that experienced midfielder Marek Hamsik has been left out of the Slovakia squad. In their last meeting in a competitive match Belarus defeated Slovakia 1-0, meaning that the visitors are hungry for revenge.
Highlighted Player (Mikhail Gordejchuk):
Mikhail Gordeichuk is a Belarusian footballer who was born in Saran, Kazakhstan (SSSR) on October 23, 1989. Gordeichuk started his youth career at Shakhter Karagandy, but he made his senior debut for Volna Pinsk in the 2008/2009 season. After scoring 10 goals in 45 appearances for the club the midfielder joined Naftan Novopolotsk in 2010 and he played 32 games in the Belarusian top flight for the club.
In 2011 he moved to BATE Borisov, but he was quickly sent on loan to Belshina Bobruisk. In 2013 he signed a permanent deal with Belshina and it has to be noted that he made 53 appearances in the league (in total) for the Spartak Stadium outfit. Mikhail Gordeichuk then decided to return to BATE Borisov and he has been playing for the most successful Belarusian club ever since. It has to be noted that he won his fourth Belarusian Premier League title with BATE in 2016.
Speaking of his international career, Gordeichuk has established himself as a first-team regular at the Belarus national football team and he scored his first ever goal for the former Soviet republic in a 5-1 win over Liechtenstein on May 21, 2014.
Highlighted Team (Slovakia):
Slovakia only appeared on the international stage in 1993 as Czechoslovakia fell apart, and the new national team have yet to record a result worth mention. Repre have only qualified for two major tournaments so far, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2016, but the current generation definitely seem capable of improving the team’s profile in years to come.
Slovakia currently have quite a few players plying their trade in some of Europe’s top sides, with Marek Hamsik, Martin Skrtel and Juraj Kucka clearly the leaders of the national team at the moment, but they do struggle in some areas and are not exactly world beaters just yet. Under Vladimir Weiss and Jan Kozak, Slovakia have become a tough not to crack, relying on rock-solid back line and swift counter-attacks, and they even gave Spain a tough time during the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Miroslav Karhan and Robert Vittek are the most capped player and top goalscorer respectively, with Robert Vittek another player worth the mention.