Euro 2020: Misfiring Slovakia looks for 'miracle' against Spain

Slovakia reached the knockout stage in both prior European Championship appearances and is on three points after an opening win against Poland - but it still faces a challenge to climb out of Group E with Spain to come next.

Sweden's manager Janne Andersson(L)and Slovakia's manager Stefan Tarkovic(R) shake hands after Euro 2020 football championship group E match on Friday.   -  AP

Slovakia will have to be more effective in attack after failing to get a shot on target during their 1-0 defeat to Sweden on Friday at Euro 2020, head coach Stefan Tarkovic said.

Slovakia reached the knockout stage in both prior European Championship appearances and is on three points after an opening win against Poland - but it still faces a challenge to climb out of Group E with Spain to come next.

"I am an optimist," Tarkovic said on Friday after the loss to Sweden. "We will believe in a small miracle to happen and take points off Spain."

To do so, Slovakia will need to capitalise more on chances after 10 attempts at goal missed the target against Sweden.

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Tarkovic said Sweden, who held Spain to a scoreless draw on Monday, gave Slovakia less room up front than Poland had.

"We could see that they were ready in the middle of the pitch, where they made it narrower and shorter for us, so that we would not have the space for passes and attacks which we had against Poland," he said.

Slovakia's back line frustrated the Swedes' attack, keeping up a staunch defence that was also seen on Monday against Poland and its record-breaking striker Robert Lewandowski.

Sweden's goal did not come from open play but a 77th minute penalty when goalkeeper Martin Dubravka tripped Robin Quaison and Emil Forsberg shot home from the spot.

Slovakia switched to a 4-1-4-1 formation after that, Tarkovic said, "but there was not enough time."

Sweden top the group with four points from two games, one ahead of Slovakia. Spain, on one point, play bottom side Poland on Saturday while the final round of fixtures - Sweden v Poland and Slovakia v Spain - will be played on Wednesday.

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