Half-time: Poland 0-1 Slovakia
Referee Ovidiu Hategan draws the first half to a close and the teams traipse off with Slovakia a goal to the good. History will unfairly record it as a Wojciech Szczesny own goal, but it came on the back of a terrific solo effort from Robert Mak, who deserves all the credit. He and Marek Hamsik have been outstanding for a Slovakia teram that are well worth their lead.
45 min: The standout player in this first half, Slovakia skipper Marek Hamsik tries another shot from distance. It’s blocked by a defender.
44 min: A Krychowiack cross into the Slovakia penalty is cleared and the men in blue pour forward on the counter. Poland get back and defend well. It’s end-to-end stuff at the Saint Petersburg Stadium as we approach half-time.
40 min: Poland attack on the break, with Robert Lewandowski on the ball. He hesitates, allowing Slovakia to regroup and get back in numbers. He plays the ball wide and then sends a half-chance wide when it’s returned his way, sending a diagonal effort across the face of goal and wide.
37 min: Karol Linetty is the next Polish player to shoot from distance. He fares no better than any of his team-mates, failing to hit the target and force a save out of Martin Dubravka.
36 min: From outside the Poland penalty area, Marek Hamsik pulls a low daisy-cutter well wide of the far post.
35 min: Another opportunity for Poland. Krychowiak shoots from distance but sends his shot a couple of feet over the bar. Moments later, Zielinski has a pop but also fails to find the target.
32 min: Hamsik plays Pekarik in behind Jan Bednarek down the right flank. His cross is inch perfect for Kucka, who is unable to get enough power on his header. Szczesny saves comfortably.
31 min: Kucka goes down in the Poland penalty area prompting Slovakia’s players to appeal for a spot-kick. They don’t get one.
30 min: Marek Hamsik tries his luck with a shot from the left corner of the Polish penalty area. Mateusz Klich gets his body in front of the ball and blocks.
27 min: There was a VAR check for a possible penalty in the build-up to that Poland chance, but match official Marco Di Bello saw no foul.
24 min: Poland go close with a free-flowing move down the right flank. The ball was squared to Maciej Rybus, who failed to connect properly in acres of space.
22 min: Poland mdfielder Gregorz Krychowiak is booked for a foul on Tomas Hubocan, who also received a yellow card for some indiscretion or other in the immediate aftermath of the goal.
20 min: That was a terrific goal from Mak, although the Polish defending was questionable to say the least. It has actually been credited to Szszesny, who should have kept it out after the ball took a deflection off Glik. Mak was faceing the touchline out wide, but managed to turn, cut inside and beat two defenders before firing goalwards. His goal came against ther run of play.
GOAL! Poland 0-1 Slovakia (Sczcesny 18og)
Robert Mak scores with a fine solo effort, curtting in from the left, nutmegging a defender and shooting from the edge of the six-yard box. His deflected shot beat Wojciech Szczesny at his near post.
16 min: Juraj Kucka is given a lecture by the referee after a robust challenge on Piotr Zielinski. Free-kick for Poland, wide on the left. The delivery towards Glick is poor and the ball sails out of play.
14 min: We’re treated to a couple of stepovers from Slovakia striker Ondrey Duda, who cuts inside from the right and pulls a low drive a couple of yards wide of the left upright from the edge of the penalty area.
13 min: Good goalkeeping from Dubravka, who is sold short with a back-pass but manages to recover well under pressure and pick out a team-mate.
11 min: Poland go on the attack again. Kamil Jozwiak runs down the inside right on to a beautifully weighted through ball and lofts a cross towards the far post. |Peter Pekarik hooks clear for Slovakia and is fouled in the process. Another free-kick and a chance for the under pressure Slovakians to regroup.
9 min: Mateusz Klich is fouled by Juraj Kucka out by the right touchline, halfway inside the Slovakia half. Free-kick. Coming off his line in the Slovakia goal, Martin Dubravka punches the subsequent inswinger clear.
7 min: Hamsik tries to create an opening down the right flank but loses possession, allowing Poland to counter with Zielinski on the ball. They run into traffic on the edge of the Slovakia penalty area.
6 min: Lewandowski has his first shot of the game for Poland but the ball ricochets off one of his own team-mates.
4 min: Poland get forward down the left flank with Krychowiack and Zielinski combining. Slovakia clear their lines.
2 min: Slovakia left-back Thomas Hubocan is fouled out by the left touchline and earns his side a free-kick. The ball is played towards the far post by Marek Hamsik and headed across the face of goal. Lewandowski makes a crucial interception with his own head.
2 min: On ITV co-comms, Chelsea women’s team manager Emma Hayes has identified the battle between Milan Skriniar and Robert Lewandowski as being key to the outcome for today’s game.
Group E: Poland v Slovakia is go …
1 min: Slovakia get the ball rolling on the whistle of match referee Ovidiu Hategan, their players wearing blue shirts, black shorts and black socks. The players of Poland wear white shirts, red shorts and white socks.
Not long now: The players of both teams make their way out on to the pitch for a match that was originally supposed to be staged in Dublin, but was moved because the Irish government could provide no assurances that spectators would be aloowed to attend because of Covid restrictions. A crowd of 30,000 is expected today in the Saint Petersburg arena – exactly half-capacity. It’s time for the anthems and kick-off is just five minutes away.
Match report: Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic
Group D: Ewan Murray was at Hampden Park to see Scotland go down to a brace from Patrik Schick. Here’s how he saw the action unfold …
Poland v Slovakia line-ups
Poland (3-4-3): Szczesny, Bereszynski, Glik, Bednarek, Rybus, Linetty, Krychowiak, Klich, Jozwiak, Lewandowski, Zielinski.
Slovakia (4-2-3-1): Dubravka, Pekarik, Satka, Skriniar, Hubocan, Kucka, Hromada, Haraslin, Hamsik, Mak, Duda.
Group D result: Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic
There wasn’t a huge amount between the teams at Hampden Park, but the Czech’s took their chances while Scotland didn’t. Patrik Schick scored twice, his second from 50 yards out and a strike that will take some beating in the Goal of the Tournament stakes.
Paulo Sousa speaks
“First of all, we know we represent the whole of Poland,” he said. “We want to come back to our base with smiles. Monday will be one of the most important days of my coaching career. I thank God that football gave so much to me and to my family. I am really glad that I can participate in Euro 2020.
“All the players we brought with us are fit and ready. We have a good team and hope to come back to Poland with three points after the first game. I don’t have any big doubts about the first XI, maybe one or two players.”
Stefan Tarkovic speaks
“I am so glad all my players are healthy,” said Slovakia’s coach. “The whole team are ready and motivated to be successful. The game will be a challenge for us. Paper assumptions are not important for me. I will be happy if we leave the field with our heads up and if we show our fans we came here to fight for our country.”
Today’s match officials
Ovidiu Hategan leads a largely Romanian team of match officials. With no VAR in the Romanian league, Italy’s Marco Di Bello will be in the TV bunker keeping his eyes peeled.
- Referee: Ovidiu Hategan (Romania)
- Referee’s assistants: Radu Ghinguleac and Sebastian Gheorghe (Romania)
- Fourth official: Istvan Kovacs (Romania)
- VAR: Marco Di Bello (Italy)
Early team news
Poland have had to leave several key personnel at home, with manager Paulo Sousa forced to plan without the services of injured defenders Krystian Bielik and Arkadiusz Reca, as well as strikers Krzysztof Piatek and Arkadiusz Milik. The latter pair’s absence may prompt their manager to play Lewandowski up front on his own, rather than with a partner.
Slovakia winger Ivan Schranz is his manager’s believed to be his manager Stefan Tarkovic’s only injury concern. The 27-year-old from Slavia Prague has been struggling with a thigh injury.
Euro 2020 Group E: Poland v Slovakia
Completed eight years late and at a mere 548% over budget, the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Russia will be at half it’s 61,000 capacity as it hosts this afternoon’s Group E opener between Poland and Slovakia.
Both nations come into the tournment on decidedly uninspiring runs of form but in Robert Lewandowski, the Poles boast the world’s most lethal striker. In Milan Skriniar and Marek Hamsik, Slovakia boast a couple of international household names of their own but will start as outsiders in this match. Kick-off is at 5pm (BST) but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.