Round of 16
Germany v Slovakia
Monday June 27, 2:00am
Germany managed two wins and a draw in Group C which was enough to finish top ahead of Poland, though only on goal difference. They’re one of eight teams that are unbeaten so far and last tasted defeat in a major tournament in the semi-finals of Euro 2012 against Italy. Slovakia, meanwhile, frustrated England with a goalless draw in their final group game and that was enough to secure third place and a last-16 date with the World Champions.
Whereas the Germans put in a convincing 4-0 win over Portugal in the group stages of the World Cup, they’re yet to really blow a team away at this tournament, with their biggest victory a 2-0 win over Ukraine and even then their second came very last on when the Ukrainians were hunting for an equaliser.
What’s more, Germany’s record against teams they’re ranked between 26 and 36 places higher than is just W4-D7-L3 since 2012 as they only managed three clean sheets in these matches and conceded at least twice in half.
Indeed, the Germans were struggling defensively in the lead up to the tournament as they’d only managed one clean sheet in nine before their opener against Ukraine, though when it comes to major tournaments they’ve only conceded twice in their last 10 games going back to the start of the World Cup.
Slovakia’s 2-1 defeat against Wales in their opening game was their only defeat in their last 11 and amongst those was a 3-1 friendly win over Germany themselves prior to this tournament and though it wasn’t quite a full strength German side, that victory will no doubt feature heavily in Kozak’s team talk.
Along with that win, Slovakia beat Spain in qualification and also have a World Cup 2010 victory over Italy within their last six games against top-10 ranked sides. If we extend our search to top-15 teams, then Slovakia are W4-D2-L3 since 2012 as they only lost two of the nine by more than one goal.
Slovakia have only lost one of their last 35 games by more than one goal, a 2-0 away defeat against Spain in qualification for this tournament. They are the second-lowest ranked side to reach the knockouts of the Euros after champions Greece in 2004, but this is of course the first time we’re having a last-16 stage.
If we look at World Cup last-16 clashes, sides ranked outside the world’s top-25 have only lost three of their 14 games against teams ranked higher than them by more than one goal since 1998. This, together with the fact that Germany aren’t in free scoring form at the moment means that we’re siding with the Slovakians to once again prove tough to beat.
BACK – Slovakia +1.25 Asian Handicap at 1.82