Thursday 23 January 2020

'Physically, the game will be very demanding' - Ireland play a typical British-style game, claims Slovakia boss


Rivals: Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy (right) and Slovakia manager Pavel Hapal. Photo: UEFA via Sportsfile
Rivals: Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy (right) and Slovakia manager Pavel Hapal. Photo: UEFA via Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Slovakia believe they have more quality than Ireland for the Euro 2020 play-off in March and are confident they can advance to a play-off semi-final against either Bosnia or Northern Ireland.

Irish plans for that March 26 game in Slovakia are hindered by the ongoing crisis at the FAI, with a warning last month from FAI chief Paul Cooke that without an €18million rescue package from the Government or UEFA the association could be forced into liquidation, which would stop all teams competing at international level, including Euro 2020.

Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.

Log In

But a crisis-free Slovakia are quietly putting in place their strategy for the home game, with manager Pavel Hapal appealing to their fans to get behind the side for Ireland's visit - fewer than 8,000 fans paid in to see Slovakia's last home game in the qualifiers, though they hope to pack out the 22,500 National Stadium in Bratislava for the Ireland game.

"Ireland will be a tough opponent," Hapal said in a new year message to fans.

"They play a typical British-style game, they are aggressive and engage in personal and aerial battles.

"Physically, the game will be very demanding but we will match them in terms of the football side of things, maybe we will be even better.

"Being at home is a big advantage, I believe our fans will stand with us, that they will fill the stadium and push us on towards victory."

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: Schools rugby special - 'The St Michael’s dream team are the side to beat'

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport