Slovakian government confirm play-off will go ahead despite ban

Hosts name their squad ahead of Thursday week’s Euro 2021 play-off in Bratislava

Slovakia will be without Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka for their Euro2021 playoff against Ireland. File photograph: Getty Images

Slovakia will be without Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka for their Euro2021 playoff against Ireland. File photograph: Getty Images

 

The Slovakian government has confirmed the country’s upcoming play-off against Ireland will go ahead, despite a ban on all sporting activity announced this week.

Most public, cultural and sports events in Slovakia have been banned due to the accelerating spread of the coronavirus, prime minister Igor Matovic said on Monday. And while the Slovakian domestic leagues are expected to be brought to a halt, Matovic has said Thursday week’s already twice postponed Euro2021 play-off match will still be played: “I assume that our footballers will be able to play their match against Ireland after they have tests.

“All the measures will be in effect from October 1st until further notice. Until we break the rising curve to a declining one”.

Slovakia has had one of the lowest death tolls from the coronavirus - 44 as of Monday - but new cases have started to rise, with daily record of 522 on Friday, for a total of 9,343 as of Monday.

Chief public health officer Jan Mikas said the ban on public events would include sporting and cultural events. The exact wording of the rules is yet to be finalised and some exceptions will be made such as sport where all participants have a fresh negative test for the coronavirus - meaning some professional matches will be able to take place.

On Tuesday, Slovakia named their squad for the play-off in Bratislava on October 8th, with playmaker Marek Hamšík - now based in China - included. Former Liverpool centre back Martin Škrtel however will not be involved, national team manager Pavel Hapal had been considering calling the 35 year-old out of international retirement for Ireland’s visit. Goalkeeper Martin Dúbravka misses out with an injury.

Goalkeepers: Marek Rodak (FC Fulham), Dominik Greif (SK Slovan Bratislava), Dusan Kuciak (Lechia Gdansk).

Defenders: Peter Pekarík (Hertha Berlin), Lubomir Satka (Lech Poznan), Martin Koscelnik (Slovan Liberec), Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan), Martin Valjent (RCD Mallorca), Norbert Gyömbér (Perugia Calcio), Denis Vavro (Lazio Roma), Robert Mazan (FK Mlada Boleslav), Lukáš Pauschek (ŠK Slovan Bratislava).

Midfielders: Marek Hamsik (PFC Ta-lien), Jan Gregus (Minnesota United), Albert Rusnák Jr. (Real Salt Lake), Stanislav Lobotka (SSC Napoli), Patrik Hrosovsky (KRC Genk), Juraj Kucka (Parma Calcio), Ondrej Duda (FC Kolin), Matus Bero (Vitesse Arnhem), Lukáš Haraslín (US Sassuolo), Jaroslav Mihalik (Lechia Gdansk), Róbert Mak (Ferencváros Budapest).

Forwards: Robert Bozenik (Feyenoord), Michal Duris (Omonia Nicosia), Ivan Schranz (FK Jablonec).

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