Date: 26th June 2016 at 10:00am
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Germany and Slovakia go into their Round of 16 match in Lille on Sunday evening knowing that a win will set up a tough quarter-final tie against either Italy or Spain.

In typically efficient style, Germany won Group C without conceding a goal, although there are some concerns about their attack.

They have scored just three goals thus far, and the 0-0 draw against Poland marked the first game in a major tournament in which they have failed to score since the 2010 World Cup defeat to Spain.

Slovakia came through by virtue of being one of the four best third-placed sides. Having recovered from their opening defeat to Wales with a win over under-performing Russia, they stifled England with a robust defensive display to secure a valuable point.

Their lack of ambition could have backfired, but they gambled on four points being enough to see them through and it ultimately paid off.

They will need to be more adventurous in the knockout stages, but once again will be relying heavily on Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel to keep the likes of Mario Gomez and Thomas Muller quiet.

The two sides actually met just under two months ago when Slovakia claimed a shock 3-1 friendly win in Germany.

While they will still go into the game as underdogs against the world champions, this will give them confidence of performing an upset and reaching the last-eight of the finals.

Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Slovakia dangerman Marek Hamsik – Photo: Marc Atkins / Offside.

Team News:

Striker Gomez made his first start of the tournament in the 1-0 win over Northern Ireland, and having scored the winning goal, is expected to start once more.

Whether coach Joachim Low persists with the somewhat underperforming Mario Gotze remains to be seen, but if not, Andre Schurrle may come in.

Jerome Boateng is Germany’s only injury concern, but the defender is expected to be fit to start.

Having made three changes from the team that lost the opening match, Slovakia boss Jan Kozak is likely to keep faith with the starting line-up that served him so much better against Russia and England.

However he will be sweating somewhat on the fitness of midfielder Robert Mak and defender Tomas Hubocan, who are currently carrying knocks.

FIFA World Ranking: Germany – 4th; Slovakia – 24th
Best European Championship Finish: Germany – Winners (1972, 1990, 1996); Slovakia – First appearance
Previous Meeting: Germany 1-3 Slovakia – May 29, 2016 (International Friendly)
Form: Germany WLWWDW; Slovakia WWDLWD
Key Men: Germany – Thomas Muller; Slovakia – Marek Hamsik
Shoot Says: Germany 2-0 Slovakia

 
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