SLOVAKIAN GAMES

Foot Ball in Slovakia

The Slovakia national football team (Slovak: Slovenské národné futbalové mužstvo) represents Slovakia in association football and is controlled by the Slovak Football Association (SFZ), the governing body for football in Slovakia. Slovakia's home stadium is Štadión Pasienky and their head coach is Ján Kozák. Slovakia are one of the newest national football teams in the world, having split from the Czechoslovakia national football team after the dissolution of the unified state in 1993, with the Czech Republic national football team continuing as the successor of the Czechoslovak team. Slovakia maintains its own national side that competes in all major professional tournaments. Slovakia qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 2010 after winning their qualifying group despite two defeats against Slovenia, and progressed beyond the group stage after a 3–2 win against Italy, before bowing out of the tournament after a 2–1 defeat in the second round against eventual runners-up the Netherlands. It was the first time the team have ever played in a major football competition, after playing every FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign since 1998 and every UEFA European Football Championship qualifying campaign since 1996, after a 50 year absence from international football due to representing part of the Czechoslovakia team. They did come close to securing a berth at the 2006 finals in Germany, after finishing second in their group ahead of Russia and behind Portugal, before drawing Spain in their qualification play-off, in which the Slovaks lost by a wide margin on aggregate. The team have achieved some noteworthy results, however, such as the aforementioned win over the then title holders Italy at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and a 1–0 win against Russia in September 2010 which helped the team reach their best ever position of 16th in the FIFA World Rankings. Despite this success however, the team later dropped down the rankings and a considerable drop in form went with this, as the team failed to qualify for Euro 2012 finishing in their group in 4th place. They also only scored seven goals in the group, only more than minnows Andorra. Slovakia's traditional rival is the Czech Republic which they played twice in the qualification for the 1998 FIFA World Cup in 1996 and 1997 winning 2–1 in Bratislava, before losing 3–0 in Prague with both teams already eliminated, before playing each other again in 2008 and 2009 in the qualifying round for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In these two meetings the teams drew 2–2 in Bratislava with the Slovaks winning 2–1 in Prague. But before that, they also playing each other in UEFA Euro 2008 qualifying, and they lost 3–1 in Prague and 0–3 in Bratislava.

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