Slovakia defeated “La Furia Roja“ 2:1 (1:0) in Žilina on Thursday October 9, for the first time in history with goals from Juraj Kucka and Miroslav Stoch.
The defeat at the hands of the Slovaks means the Spanish national team lost in the qualifying run for the first time since 2006. Crowds at MŠK Žilina stadium and at home could see a thrilling battle with a happy ending for Slovakia. The tactics set by coach Ján Kozák together with performance, heart and a bit of luck ended the series of 36-match unbeaten European Champions.
“Our will, heart and fighting spirit decided the game” said one of Slovak goalscorers Juraj Kucka after a win and left Juanfran to regret that Spain missed “so, so many” chances. It had been obvious even before the match that the Spanish team would dominate in ball possession and chances. The numbers are eloquent: (possession 67%), total goal attempts (26 against 5) or passes (570 against 159).
The Slovaks had a promising start, held the score at 1-0 for a long time, and goalkeeper Matúš Kozáčik made a lot of fantastic saves. After equalising in the 83rd minute, Spain moved up a gear, but Slovakia used their only chance in the second half. Slovakia has 6 points after two matches (victory over Ukraine in first match) and is the surprising leader of qualifying C group. The next match with Belarus is scheduled for October 12 in Borisov Arena in Belarus.
By Albert Kulla