Slovakia Camp Focus – Four fitness gambles in Weiss’ World Cup 23

Coach Vladimir Weiss has gambled on the fitness of no fewer than four players in his 23-man World Cup squad with injury-hit front men Filip Holosko and Robert Vittek both making the cut.

Holosko, who sustained a broken leg last year, was not available to join up with the squad until Monday. Said Weiss: “It was a tough decision, Holosko isn’t 100 per cent fit. Or, he may be fit but we don’t know what to expect in a real match. It’s the same with Vittek. We’ll see in the next few days.” Strike partner Vittek, who is suffering from a long term knee injury, sat out Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Cameroon along with Holosko, but has been chosen in the squad. Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel, who has been suffering from a broken metatarsal since February, and talismanic captain Marek Hamsik, who was a slight doubt with a muscular injury have both been included after the Slovakian medical staff confirmed their fitness.

One man who did not make it through due to injury was Miroslav Karhan. A recurrence of the Achilles tendon injury which has blighted his domestic season with German club Mainz 05 has ruled him out of the summer showpiece. “Unfortunately, Karhan couldn’t make it onto the list because of injury, even though he was the one who deserved to go to the World Cup most,” Weiss revealed. Juraj Kucka of Czech side Sparta Prague is a surprise inclusion in the squad having not featured in any qualifying games. The 23-year-old central midfielder looks to have taken Karhan’s place in midfield.

Premier League based youngsters Miroslav Stoch of Chelsea and Manchester City’s Vladimir Weiss – the Coach’s son – made it onto the plane for South Africa, but Leeds centre-back Lubomir Michalik was one of the six to miss out. Back-up goalkeeper Dusan Kuciak was included despite damaging his knee in Saturdays friendly and his inclusion saw Nantes stopper Lubos Kamenar left out. Midfield pair Mario Pecalka and Dusan Svento will also return home while in-form Stanislav Sestak keeps his place in the squad and will be looking to build upon impressive International scoring rate, which currently stands at one goal in every three appearances. Despite injury concerns Weiss is very positive about his sides chances this summer “For me, these are the best players in Slovakia and I hope that they’ll prove it in South Africa,” added Weiss.

Slovakia kick off on 15th June against New Zealand before taking on Paraguay and world champions Italy in Group F, but the crunch game for the Repre will be taking on Gerardo Martino’s Paraguay, on the 20th June, in what looks to be a playoff for second place behind the holders. Keeping star striker Oscar Cardozo quiet will be a major test for Weiss ahead of the clash. The 27-year-old hitman has been in great form this season bagging 38 goals in all competitions including three against Liverpool in the UEFA Europa League. These performances have attracted the interest of many of Europe’s top clubs and a move away from Portuguese outfit Benfica seems to be on the cards. The job of keeping the Cardozo quiet will most likely be given to Martin Skrtel, despite concerns over the defensive lynchpin’s fitness following the foot injury suffered in Liverpool’s victory over Unirea Urziceni. Victory over fellow World Cup debutants New Zealand would seem to be a formality having qualified top of their European qualification group. But taking on Italy will be a test that will almost certainly be too much for Skrtel and co.

Slovakia will next be in action on the 5th June, when they take on Costa Rica in a warm up friendly. The Central Americans will present a similar challenge to the one that will be faced in South Africa when they take on the Paraguayans. Vittek could make some sort of appearance as he looks to find his fitness after injury but it remains doubtful as to whether strike partner Holosko will feature at all.

Slovakia World Cup Squad

Goalkeepers:

Jan Mucha (Legia Warsaw)
Dusan Kuciak (Vaslui)
Dusan Pernis (Dundee United)

Defenders:

Peter Pekarik (Wolfsburg)
Martin Petras (Cesena)
Martin Skrtel (Liverpool)
Jan Durica (Lokomotiv Moscow)
Radoslav Zabavnik (Mainz)
Marek Cech (West Bromwich Albion)
Zdeno Strba (Xanthi)

Midfielders:

Kornel Salata (Slovan Bratislava)
Kamil Kopunek (Spartak Trnava)
Jan Kozak (Timisoara)
Juraj Kucka (Sparta Prague)
Marek Sapara (Ankaragucu)
Marek Hamsik (Napoli)
Vladimir Weiss Jr (Manchester City)
Erich Jendrisek (Schalke 04)
Miroslav Stoch (Chelsea)

Strikers:

Stanislav Sestak (Bochum)
Robert Vittek (Ankaragucu)
Martin Jakubko (Ramenskoye)
Filip Holosko (Besiktas)

Uncategorized

Related posts