Poland vs Slovakia: Robert Lewandowski needs to cement legacy at Euro 2020

Poland and Slovakia play their Euro 2020 opener, with Robert Lewandowski in particular needing to get off to a good start.

When: Monday June 14, 17:00 BST

Where: Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg

How to watch: ITV

Best Bets

Slovakia to win 1-0 at 9/1

Robert Lewandowski to score forst goal at 12/5

Poland to win and Robert Lewandowski to score first goal at 3/1

At first glance there is nothing to get especially excited about with this one, but that may be doing it a disservice.

Poland were quarter-finalists in France five years ago and boast arguably the best penalty box striker in the world.

Slovakia, meanwhile, had a top centre-back in brilliant form, and so there is plenty to get your teeth into with this fixture.

Last three meetings

Poland 0-2 Slovakia (Friendly - November 15, 2013)

These two sides have not met since 2013, and it was Slovakia who took the spoils.

It was, in truth, an unremarkable 90 minutes of friendly international soccer, and it was essentially settled within the space of eight first-half minutes.

Juraj Kucka opened the scoring in the 31st minute and Robert Mak doubled that advantage eight minutes later.

Poland 1-0 Slovakia (Friendly - May 26, 2012)

With Euro 2012 being hosted by Poland and Ukraine, the Poles lined up a match against Slovakia as part of their preparations.

As with many warm-up games, though, it was not the most absorbing of contests, with Damien Perquis' goal on the half-hour settling it.

Poland 0-1 Slovakia (Qualifier - October 14, 2009)

Goals were again in short supply in this snow-affected qualifier for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

It was also a match you wouldn't have wanted to be late for, with Seweryn Gancarczyk's own-goal in the third minute being the only meaningful goalmouth action.

Lewandowski show?

If you are going to have a conversation about who the best striker is in world football today, Poland's Robert Lewandowski is sure to be strongly in the mix.

The Bayern Munich man broke Gerd Muller's 49-year Bundesliga goalscoring record last season, and a strong Euros will put him firmly in Ballon d'Or contention.

However, for all his brilliance in domestic football, Lewandowski is yet to truly perform at a major international tournament.

That may be down to a lack of quality around him, but he probably needs to good tournament here to cement his legacy.

Poland squad

Goalkeepers: Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham), Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus), Lukasz Skorupski (Bologna)

Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton), Bartosz Bereszynski (Sampdoria), Pawel Dawidowicz (Verona), Kamil Glik (Benevento), Michal Helik (Barnsley), Tomasz Kedziora (Dynamo Kyiv), Kamil Piatkowski (Rakow Czestochowa), Tymoteusz Puchacz (Lech Poznan), Maciej Rybus (Lokomotiv Moskva)

Midfielders: PrzemysÅ'aw Frankowski (Chicago Fire), Kamil Jozwiak (Derby), Mateusz Klich (Leeds), Kacper Kozlowski (Pogon Szczecin), Grzegorz Krychowiak (Lokomotiv Moskva), Karol Linetty (Torino), Jakub Moder (Brighton), Przemyslaw Placheta (Norwich), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)

Forwards: Dawid Kownacki (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Arkadiusz Milik (Marseille), Karol Swiderski (PAOK), Jakub Swierczok (Piast Gliwice)

Slovakia's shifting strengths

Milan Skriniar Slovakia Nov20
Milan Skriniar Slovakia Nov20

Time was, Slovakia used to be all about the talents of Marek Hamsik. The mohican-haired midfield maestro was a star performer in Serie A for Napoli and the key cog for his national team too.

He is still part of the Slovakia squad, and team, for Euro 2020, but he is much-faded force and now playing his club football for Gothenburg in Sweden.

Nowadays the star man is Inter Milan's Scudetto-winning centre-back Milan Skriniar, and Newcastle's excellent goalkeeper Martin Dubravka means they have some real defensive strength in their side.

Slovakia squad

Goalkeepers: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle), Marek Rodak (Fulham), Dusan Kuciak (Lechia Gdansk)

Defenders: Peter Pekarik (Hertha), Ľubomir Satka (Lech Poznan), Denis Vavro (Huesca), Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan), Tomas Hubocan (Omonoia), Jakub Holubek (Gliwice

Midfielders: Marek Hamsik (IFK Goteborg), Stanislav Lobotka (Napoli), Patrik Hrosovsky (Genk), Juraj Kucka (Parma), Ondrej Duda (Koln), Robert Mak (Ferencvaros), Vladimir Weiss (Slovan Bratislava), Laszlo Benes (Augsburg), Lukas Haraslin (Sassuolo), Tomas Suslov (Groningen), Matus Bero (Arnhem), Erik Jirka (Mirandes)

Forwards: Michal Duris (Omonoia), Robert Bozenik (Feyenoord), David Strelec (Slovan Bratislava)

International head-to-head

Poland wins: 3

Draws: 1

Sweden wins: 4

Goalscorer bets

Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski is usually the favourite in the goalscorer markets and that is no different for this one.

However, his previous failures at major tournaments have made his odds a lot more interesting.

He is odds-on to score anytime but around 12/5 to score the first goal, which might tempt a few.

For Slovakia, Robert Bozenik may be the man to back at 8/1.

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