On Friday evening, Azerbaijan hosts Slovakia in the UEFA Nations League, knowing that a loss would effectively eliminate them from contention for promotion to Division B.
Slovakia, on the other hand, is coming off a shock loss to Kazakhstan, putting the visitors under pressure to make amends in Group C3.
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Azerbaijan vs Slovakia Tip and Prediction
Slovakia began this campaign as obvious favorites to advance, with Stefan Tarkovic’s squad posting some impressive performances both during and after their involvement in Euro 2020.
However, Slovakia’s home loss to Kazakhstan on Monday leaves them in second place, knowing they can’t afford another setback on the same day as the group leaders face Belarus.
Tarkovic may have one eye on the return match in Kazakhstan, which is set to take place next Monday, but Slovakia cannot afford to take their forthcoming opponents lightly.
On the plus side, the Falcons have only lost three of their past nine games in all competitions, with the other two losses coming in Russia and Norway. Slovakia has also won three of their last four away matches, including victories over Malta, Finland, and Belarus.
From Azerbaijan’s standpoint, they already appear to be a team that will battle to escape coming last in this group. Although a goalless draw in Belarus was a positive step forward, Gianni De Biasi’s team has now gone four matches without scoring – against similar opponents.
Their losing record has now stretched to 13 games, with their lone victory in 23 matches coming in a friendly in Belarus 12 months ago. Playing back-to-back home matches – the second of which is against Belarus – may help them, but they haven’t won on home soil since overcoming the Faroe Islands in 2018.
Despite the fact that the loss of Belgium’s top scorer, Lukaku, was a crushing blow, the football gods should not have chosen such a boring encounter between two sides who excel in the final third. With Martinez rallying his Belgian team to respond, there is hope for the world’s second-ranked nation to get back on track.