ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – Slovakia will take their underdogs tag into Friday’s match against Sweden despite their surprise win over Poland in their opening Euro 2020 Group E game, captain Marek Hamsik said.
Hamsik joined Swedish club IFK Gothenburg this year, but does not believe that experience will help his team much.
“It looks like we are the favourites, first in our group after the first round, but we are still the outsiders of this group,” Hamsik told reporters on Thursday.
“This is the way to approach it – nobody will give us anything for free, no victory or points, we can only win that by a good performance on the pitch, just the way we did against the Poles,” he said.
Slovakia will still be without defender Denis Vavro who is isolating after he and a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
The Slovakians secured their fourth win in the last five games against Poland with a gritty performance on Monday and are looking to make it to the knockout phase of a major tournament for the third time.
Sweden’s attacking options will be bolstered by the return of winger Dejan Kulusevski following an ultra-defensive display against group favourites Spain that earned them a scoreless draw.
(Reporting by Robert Muller, editing by Ed Osmond)