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Euro 2024 preview: Slovakia relish chance to test misfiring England

Slovakia are relishing the prospect of taking on misfiring England in their European Championship last-16 fixture in Gelsenkirchen, and have plenty of experience in their side to deal with the pressure of knockout football.

Revelling in the underdog tag, and while there is no doubt England will be heavy favourites to advance to the quarter-finals, they face a compact, hard-working team who have the impressive Stanislav Lobotka as the conductor of the orchestra in midfield.

Slovakia advanced to the knockout rounds following a 1-1 draw with Romania in their final Group E game and finished third in a pool where all four teams ended on four points.

"The English have quality, but every opponent they have played were able to torment them," said Slovakia midfielder Ondrej Duda speaking on TV Markíza.

Lobotka was named player of the match in two of the three pool games and was crucial in providing balance between defence and attack against Romania, especially when his side were under pressure.

"It (qualification for the last 16) is something indescribable," Lobotka said. "We did it and I'm most pleased that we did it by playing our own game.

"From the beginning we wanted to play our game and we fought for each other. We will try to get as far as possible (in the tournament)."

Lobotka forms a midfield three with Duda and veteran Juraj Kucka, 37, one of a trio of vastly experienced players in the squad along with right back Peter Pekerik (also 37) and goalkeeper Martin Dubravka (35).

When Slovakia named the trio in their opening game against Ukraine, they were only the second team in Euros history to select three players aged 35 or older in the starting line-up after France in 2008, who had Gregory Coupet (then 35), Claude Makelele (35)