Slovakia earned a hard-fought victory against a far-from-perfect Poland side in the Euro 2020 Group E clash in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Slovakia overcame Poland in a crucial clash in Group E after Grzegorz Krychowiak was sent off for receiving a second yellow card following a soft foul that hurt the Polish team’s chances of winning the game.
Inter‘s Milan Skriniar scored a stunning goal with a snap low shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty area to give Slovakia the victory and secure three points that have proved to be vital for the nation’s chances of qualifying for the knockout stages of Europe’s biggest continental competition.
Slovakia are the lowest-ranked European nation at Euro 2020 sitting in 36th in FIFA’s world rankings.
Slovakia took an early lead after some fantastic football when the ball bounced off the post and rebounded in off Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny after a fine run and shot from Robert Mak.
They did an incredible job to go into the break with a one-goal lead. It did not take Poland much time after the first-half break to equalise. A lovely one-touch move was calmly finished by Karol Linetty, which brought the Poles level with their first chance in the second half in the 46th minute.
Poland were in complete control of the game and looked most likely to score the next goal of the game but Poland midfielder Krychowiak was sent off for a second booking that changed the momentum of the match as Skriniar and Slovakia took full advantage seven minutes later.
They lead Group E after the first round of matches following Spain‘s goalless draw with Sweden later.
Poland reached the quarterfinals of Euro 2016, losing to eventual winners Portugal on penalties, and now need to beat either Spain or Sweden to have a chance of progressing.
Robert Lewandowski had scored 48 goals for Bayern Munich in the 2020-21 season but was kept quiet by a superb display from the Slovakia defence.
Slovakia reached the last 16 of Euro 2016 and this victory puts them in the driver’s seat of reaching the knockout stage of Euro 2020 as well.
Slovakia stay in Saint Petersburg as they prepare to face 2018 FIFA World Cup quarterfinalists Sweden on Friday, 18 June, before Poland play against Spain in Seville on Saturday.
Spain’s draw against Sweden puts incredible amounts of pressure on La Furia Roja as failure to top Group E of Euro 2020 will be considered a failure.