SVK vs ROU, Euro 2024: All to play for as Romania and Slovakia vow not to settle for draw

Slovakia and Romania meet in Frankfurt on Wednesday knowing victory will secure a place in the last-16 of Euro 2024, but in the tightest of pools, a draw could send both teams through.

Group E is on a knife-edge, with all four teams on three points, though Romania (+1 goal-difference) sit on top on goals scored from Belgium (also +1), followed by Slovakia (+0) and Ukraine (-2).

Romania will advance in the top two if it avoids defeat, while victories for Belgium over Ukraine and Slovakia will leave the Romanians sweating on advancing as one of the best third-place finishers.

A draw in Frankfurt would give both teams an excellent chance of going through, but Romania forward Valentin Mihaila rejected suggestions that both teams might settle for a point from the start.

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“You can’t go into a match mentally as a player, as a team, with the thought of drawing,” he told reporters. “If it is 0-0 in the 91st minute and the tied score qualifies us both, yes … but I don’t want to do calculations.

“We have to go in with the mindset of winning the game and I think we can do that.”

Romania coach Edward Iordanescu could select the same XI that lost 2-0 to Belgium in their second pool game, though whether Mihaila starts ahead of Florinel Coman is a matter for debate. Coman got the nod in the opening 3-0 win over Ukraine.

Slovakia impressed in a surprise 1-0 win over pool favourites Belgium in its opening game, but let a lead slip to lose 2-1 to Ukraine in its second with shades of Euro 2020.

On that occasion it beat Poland 1-0, lost to Sweden by the same scoreline in its second fixture, and when it was routed 5-0 by Spain in its final match, finished third in the pool with three points and did not advance to the last-16.

Ukraine, with three points and a -1 goal-difference, did finish as one of the best third-placed teams.

“We are happy that we managed the first match, but not happy that we did not manage the next one,” Slovakia midfielder Juraj Kucka said of their current campaign.

“We want to win every match and now we know that we have to improve and change something.

“We are reminded of it (Euro 2020) but I don’t want to think about it. This is a different tournament, a different team and a different coach (Francesco Calzona),” he added.

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