Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has highlighted Marek Hamsik as Slovakia’s greatest attacking threat ahead of their Euro 2016 clash on Sunday.
Neuer is yet to concede a goal at the tournament as Group C winners Germany prepare to meet Slovakia, who progressed from Group B as one of the best third-placed teams, in the last 16.
But Germany’s stand-in captain conceded that it will be more of a challenge to maintain his run of clean sheets in the knock-out rounds of the Euros and is wary of Hamsik’s quality, particularly from long-range shots.
“Everybody knows how dangerous Hamsik is on shots from distance,” Neuer said. “He has scored some nice goals from distance for Napoli.
“You always want to keep a clean sheet, but the pressure is a bit higher in the knockout stages. We want to be tight at the back. It all starts with the defence.”
Neuer stressed that Germany will not underestimate Slovakia, who came from behind to beat Germany 3-1 in a warm-up match in Augsburg prior to Euro 2016.
“Slovakia have earned their berth in the round of 16,” said the Bayern Munich goalkeeper.
“We are looking for a clear win, but we are at the knock-out stage and anything can happen in one game. We are preparing ourselves for Slovakia – we are not taking them lightly.
“It is understandable that the fans or media aren’t enthused by games like Ukraine or Northern Ireland, they weren’t easy games for us. It has been difficult to score goals against teams that park the bus on you.”
Neuer added that if regular captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is fit to start against Slovakia – the experienced midfielder having been on the bench throughout Euro 2016 – he will happily pass on the armband.
“I would be glad to hand over the captain’s armband to Schweinsteiger if he is fit to start on Sunday,” he said.
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