Slovakia Euro 2024 squad review: Hancko and co face stern challenge

Slovakia are set to play in their third consecutive European Championships for the first time since their former state of Czechoslovakia split in 1993.

The Slovakians come into the tournament in fine form too. In Euro Qualifying Group J, they finished a comfortable second, with their only defeats coming against high-flying Portugal. However, opinions are still divided about their chances of progression.

Slovakia Euro 2024 squad
The Slovakia Euro 2024 squad are in fine form – Photo by Icon Sport

Slovakia – Key facts

Year founded: 1993

Nickname: Sokoli (Falcons)

Current FIFA ranking: 48

Highest FIFA ranking: 14 (2015)

Year of Euro debut: 2016

Best Euro performance: Last 16 (2016)

Player to watch: David Hancko

Full Slovakia Euro 2024 squad

With a solid squad of players, a mean defence and momentum behind them, Slovakia may fancy themselves to go through to the knockouts for the first time since 2016. At present, there is a provisional list of 32 players, to be cut down to 26 by the tournament.

Goalkeepers

  • Martin Dúbravka
  • Marek Rodák
  • Henrich Ravas
  • Dominik Takáč

Defenders

  • Peter Pekarík
  • Milan Škriniar
  • Norbert Gyömbér
  • Dávid Hancko
  • Denis Vavro
  • Vernon De Marco
  • Michal Tomič
  • Adam Obert
  • Matúš Kmeť
  • Sebastian Kóša

Midfielders

  •  Juraj Kucka
  • Ondrej Duda
  • Patrik Hrošovský
  • Stanislav Lobotka
  • Matúš Bero
  • László Bénes
  • Jakub Kadák
  • Dominik Hollý

Attackers

  • Róbert Boženík
  • Lukáš Haraslín
  • Tomáš Suslov
  • Ivan Schranz
  • David Strelec
  • Dávid Ďuriš
  • Róbert Polievka
  • Ľubomír Tupta
  • Leo Sauer
Juraj Kucka is still battling on at 37 – Photo by Icon Sport

Surprise inclusions in Slovakia Euro 2024 squad

Juraj Kucka

To those outside of Slovakia, eyebrows will likely be raised over the inclusion of Juraj Kucka, who is now 37 years old, and left the limelight of Europe’s top five leagues in 2022.

But the former AC Milan midfielder is still the heartbeat of his nation. Combative and powerful, Kucka made his debut for his country all the way back in 2008 and was almost ever-present in qualifying.

This is likely Kucka’s international swansong, and he will give everything to see his nation succeed in this tournament.

Leo Sauer

With just one senior international cap to his name, Leo Sauer has not seen much action for his nation yet. And while he is still a fair way off being a one-man band for his nation, the teenager could yet be his nation’s secret weapon. The flying winger has shown glimpses of a special talent at Feyenoord this season.

Interestingly, Liverpool manager in-waiting Arne Slot gave Sauer his Champions League debut at just 17, and his cameos in the Eredivisie have many in Rotterdam excited. Sauer has scored two and assisted three in just 287 minutes this season. That equates to a goal contribution every 58 minutes.

Hancko and Haraslín have a strong partnership – Photo by Icon Sport

In-form players for Slovakia

Dávid Hancko

Interestingly, Slovakia’s most productive player did not even start in midfield, let alone attack. With two goals and three assists, Hancko contributed an enormous amount from left-back. The Feyenoord defender even scored in his country’s narrow 3-2 loss to Portugal.

Hancko has impressed in the Eredivisie too, and will be all too aware that the Euros grant him the opportunity to shine on an even bigger stage.

Lukáš Haraslín

Hancko’s attacking counterpart is Sparta Prague winger Lukáš Haraslín. 

Cutting onto his stronger right foot, the 28-year-old scored more than any other Slovakia player in Euro qualifying, netting three, including an impressive brace against fellow qualification hopefuls Iceland.

Lászlo Bénes has had a great year at club level- Photo by Icon Sport

Slovakia Predicted Euro 2024 XI

Slovakia have a truly unique managerial situation. Head coach Francesco Calzona has also been head coach of Napoli since February, where he had previously been an assistant to Luciano Spalletti. 

The Italian has a clear playing philosophy, and always sets his sides up in a compact 4-3-3.

In goal, Martin Dúbravka and Marek Rodák have competed fiercely, but we expect the former to edge this battle.

In the back four, 37-year-old Peter Pekarík is a guaranteed starter at right back with 124 caps to his name. At left back, Dávid Hancko will hope to continue his fine form. Captain Milan Škriniar will marshall the centre of defence, along with FC Copenhagen centre-back Denis Vavro.

In midfield, Napoli’s Stanislav Lobotka will take up a metronomic role in the midfield, flanked by the combative Juraj Kucka and Hamburger SV attacking midfielder Lászlo Bénes, who has scored 13 and assisted 11 this season.

Lukáš Haraslín will start on the left, Róbert Boženík will start up front and Tomáš Suslov on the right. The latter scored and assisted against Scudetto winners Inter Milan on the final day.

Slovakia vs Belgium

(4-3-3) Dúbravka; Pekarík, Škriniar, Vavro, Hancko; Bénes, Lobotka, Kucka: Suslov, Boženík, Haraslín

Slovakia get their toughest group opponent out of the way first: Belgium.

Belgium have the best squad in the group, but are not the force of a few years ago. We expect Calzona to impose his way of playing on Belgium, and will stick to his guns. Jeremy Doku could cause trouble for the ageing Pekarík.

Jeremy Doku is a handful for anyone – Photo by Icon Sport

Slovakia vs Romania

(4-3-3) Dúbravka; Pekarík, Škriniar, Vavro, Hancko; Bénes, Lobotka, Duda: Sauer, Boženík, Haraslín

Slovakia will back themselves to beat Romania. They have a far more talented squad. But Romania should not be taken lightly: they have lost just once in their last 12 games.

If Leo Sauer impresses in friendlies, we think the teenager may get a big break. Ondrej Duda may come in to preserve Kucka’s legs for the final group game.

Slovakia vs Ukraine

(4-3-3) Dúbravka; Pekarík, Škriniar, Vavro, Hancko; Bénes, Lobotka, Kucka: Suslov, Boženík, Haraslín

With this being an evenly matched clash, and a potential shootout for second place behind Belgium, we expect Calzona to go full-tilt at this one.


William Evans is a football and politics fanatic. A first-class graduate of UEA's Broadcast and Digital Journalism MA course, he also achieved a first class degree in politics and media studies during his time at UEA.