09 October 2020
The new-look EURO play-off format sees Slovakia (FIFA ranking: #36) meet the Republic of Ireland (#37) at the Tehelné pole for their fifth-ever competitive showdown, with the last four all ending in a draw.
It’s been a rough ride for Slovakia recently, as they’ve picked up just one win from their last five competitive outings (W1, D2, L2), scoring precisely once per game on four of those occasions. Curiously, only one of their 12 competitive home fixtures since EURO 2016 has ended level (W7, D1, L4), with seven of those 11 results (wins/losses) seeing the winner on the day keep a clean sheet. Against this backdrop, both of their previous competitive H2Hs held on Slovakia’s home soil have produced a draw, with both teams hitting the net in each. A lack of ruthlessness in front of goal has, however, seen the ‘Falcons’ bag under 1.5 goals in four of their last five home matches.
On the other hand, the visitors are winless in six competitive games (D4, L2) thanks to a genuine lack of firepower in the final third that has seen them draw a blank in three of those matches and score precisely one apiece in the other three. Ireland’s goal-scoring problems spread to their away fixtures too, as they last managed to net over 1.5 goals on the road in October 2016 (3-1 win over Moldova). It is, therefore, not strange that the ‘Boys in Green’ have only clinched one triumph out of their previous 11 away matches (W1, D6, L4), ten of which have also featured under 2.5 total goals.
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