Friday, July 28, 2017

Prediction: Wales vs Slovakia

Verdict: Under 1.5 goals

Best Odds: 11/8

Bookmaker: William Hill

The game against Slovakia will mark the first ever European Championship appearance for Wales and the Dragons head into the game in good spirits having received some very good news from the treatment room. Repre, on the other hand, are buoyed by the friendly win over Germany and they will want to win their opening fixture before facing Russia and England.

Wales

After the likes of Giggs, Bellamy, Hartson and Savage narrowly failed to end the barren run that saw the Wales national team qualify for just one major competition, Chris Coleman and his men finally secured the maiden European Championship appearance, having battled bravely in what was by no means an easy group. And while this team boast an excellent dressing room atmosphere, it is perfectly clear that the boss does not have proper replacements for his star men, which is why injuries to Gareth Bale, Joe Allen, Joe Ledley and Hal Robson-Kanu were threatening to seriously ruin team’s chances of enjoying a successful tournament. However, while the Real Madrid superstar returned into action and won the Champions League trophy, his teammates also made a very good recovery and they are all in contention for the opening fixture. This is going to be a huge boost for Wales ahead of a very important clash against Slovakia that can make or break their campaign, although the Dragons obviously need to show some improvement after losing three of last four fixtures and failing to score against Ukraine and Sweden.

Team News

While Joe Allen is expected to start, the likes of Joe Ledley and Hal Robson-Kanu are unlikely to be risked from the start and may only enter in the second period.

Their places will go to Andy King and Sam Vokes, with Wales again set to line up in a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey playing behind Vokes.

Slovakia

Slovakia haven’t enjoyed too much success on international stage as an independent country, although they did well to reach the Last 16 stage on their first ever World Cup appearance in South Africa. Marek Hamsik and Martin Skrtel have been team’s best players for quite a while now, but they were lacking quality in other areas, although Repre have been showing plenty of promise over the last few years. Slovakia managed to progress from the Euro 2016 qualifying group that also contained Spain and Ukraine, inflicting the reigning European champions with the only defeat of the campaign. But, despite scoring 17 goals in 10 games, Repre continue to struggle up front, especially now that top scorer Robert Vittek is missing the tournament through injury. On the other hand, their back line has looked solid most of the time, although they are capable of committing costly mistakes, but with so much riding on the Wales game, chances are the Slovaks will opt for a cautious approach, just like their opponents. Jan Kozak’s side played out a goalless draw with Northern Ireland in the dress rehearsal for the Wales clash, and we expect to see another low-scoring affair.

Team News

Robert Vittek misses the entire tournament through injury, whereas Lukas Tesak, Erik Sabo and Marek Bakos have failed to make the cut.

Meanwhile, Norbert Gyomber and Tomas Hubocan have both experienced some injury problems of late and they are rated doubtful.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Wales play their first ever European Championship game
  • Slovakia and Wales have one win each in previous meetings
  • No fewer than 13 goals were scored in those two matches
  • Wales are winless in last four, failing to score in last two
  • Slovakia are unbeaten in last eight fixtures (W5 D3)

Conclusion

It is clear that neither side are firing on all cylinders at the moment and taking into account the importance of the match, everything suggests we will see a low-scoring game. There is a chance we will see a goalless draw, or 1-0 win for one of the sides.

Verdict: Under 1.5 goals

Best Odds: 11/8

Bookmaker: William Hill

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