With 14 caps in his international career, Jan Mucha is the likely starter of the Slovakian squad and despite his limited experience facing elite strikers the keeper was good enough to rightfully earn a spot for his nation in this year’s World Cup. Not great on paper, but that is kind of a theme of the first time Cup team.
Grade: D +
Martin Skrtel of Liverpool is the only real recognizable player on the unit and he will be joined by Peter Pekaric of Wolfsburg, Jan Durica of Hannover 96, Martin Petras, and Marek Cech of West Brom. The unit has several players of major league talent, but few of these men start for their club. Still though they were also good enough to hold offenses in check in the WCQ.
Grade: C –
Most capped player Miroslav Karhan of Mainz is the team leader and the most respected player in the club’s midfield and young Marek Hamsik of Napoli has exploded onto the scene in the last few seasons and is one of the key offensive performers in all of the World Cup and is also more of a forward then a midfielder by performance. Miroslav Stoch of FC Twente should also likely start and Vladimir Weiss of Bolton Wanderers is another key midfielder that will provide the inexperienced international squad a bit of major league experience.
Robert Vittek of Ankaragucu and Stanislav Sestak of Bochum make-up the likely two starters and both of these guys have over 30 caps in their international career. Filip Holosko is a reliable reserve player and should see some regular minutes late in many of these key matches this summer. Not a great unit, but not the worse in the Cup either.
It does impress that the club did not lose a match to the Czech Republic, North Ireland, or Poland, but the club did lose twice to the only other team from the goup to make the cup (Slovenia). They do not possess elite talent by any means, but they have shown that they don’t mind being considered the underdogs. Karhan and Hamsik need to lead the team to positive results.
Grade: C –