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ESPN FC's Euro 2016 awards

Euro 2016
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Honigstein: Germany soar past Slovakia

The Match
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Euro 2016 team preview: Slovakia set for European Championship debut

Group B: England | Russia | Wales | Slovakia

This is Slovakia's first European Championship and only their second major tournament, but a strong qualifying campaign suggests they can make an impact in France. They have a tough group, though, and reaching the last 16 would be a decent outcome.

How they qualified: Second in Group B

Slovakia qualified in style, beginning with wins in Ukraine and then -- thrillingly -- at home against Spain. A home defeat to Belarus was their only real disappointment, and they finished three points ahead of the Ukrainians.

How they'll proceed:

That victory against Spain means the Slovakians are confident about beating anybody, but a clean sweep in Group B seems too much to ask. More likely is a tussle for second or third place, and if they make it through, they are unlikely to progress beyond the Round of 16.

TBD by Editor
Marek Hamsik, second from right, scored five goals in Euro 2016 qualifying.

Predicted lineup:

(4-2-3-1); GK: Matus Kozacik; DF: Peter Pekarik, Martin Skrtel, Jan Durica, Tomas Hubocan; MF: Juraj Kucka, Stanislav Sestak, Robert Mak, Marek Hamsik, Vladimir Weiss; FW: Adam Nemec.

Key player: Martin Skrtel

The Liverpool defender is, along with Napoli playmaker Marek Hamsik, one of Slovakia's few stars, and he will captain the team this summer. His leadership at the back will be critical in a tight-looking group, and his ability to get on the end of one of Hamsik's teasing set pieces will also likely be important.

Manager: Jan Kozak

As a player, Kozak helped Czechoslovakia to third place in the 1980 European Championship and was the country's footballer of the year in 1981. The former Kosice manager's time in charge of Slovakia, a job he took in 2013, has been highly successful so far.

Schedule:

June 11 vs. Wales (Noon ET/4 p.m. GMT; Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux)
-- LIVE on ESPN

June 15 vs. Russia (9 a.m. ET/1 p.m. GMT; Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille)
-- LIVE on ESPN

June 20 vs. England (3 p.m. ET/7 p.m. GMT; Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Etienne)
-- LIVE on ESPN

Games are also LIVE on ESPN Deportes, ESPN FC, WatchESPN and the ESPN app.

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