Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Slovakia v. Norway

With 99 days and 7 hours left until the long-awaited kick-off, Slovakia donned slightly redesigned World Cup tops and faced Norway in the first of three pre-WC friendlies. Manager Weiss had to do without a couple of key players, Liverpool's centre-back Martin Škrtel [broken metatarsal] and VfL Bochum's Stanislav Šesták [back injury], whereas Norway's Olsen missed John Carew, sidelined with a knee injury. This game was seen by many as preparation for the must-win game against New Zealand - most fans were not prepared to settle for anything less than a win. Instead, Slovakia displayed its clinical weaknesses, namely sloppy defending and inefficient attack, failing to convert numerous clear-cut chances. The lack of the squad's depth is a constant problem - without Škrtel's support, his fellow centre-back's [Ján Ďurica] performance suffers significantly, and it was after his defensive blunder that Norway scored the only goal of the game. Šesták is similarly influential upfront - afterall, his 6 goals made real difference during the World Cup qualifiers [especially these two against Poland].

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