Football in Slovakia
Slovakia has participated in international football as an independent nation ever since 1993 when Czechoslovakia was divided into two new states. Slovakia qualified to the World Cup for the first time in 2010, where the side upset perennial power Italy and lost in the Round of 16. They qualified for the UEFA European Championships for the first time since independence in 2016. Football is the most popular sport in the Slovak Republic.
|Football in Slovakia|
|Governing body||Slovakia Football Association|
The Slovak Football Federation was a member of FIFA from April 1939 to 1945 and is again since 1993.
The Slovak football championship for club teams is held every year in the so-called 2014 Corgoň league. It is the highest division and is sponsored by the Nitra-based brewery Corgoň. For the season 2014/15, the Corgoň League was renamed "Fortuna Liga". The first Slovak football league was formed in its current form in 1993, when the common league was discontinued after the end of the federation with the Czech Republic. The viewer interest is relatively low. It was 2007/08 at about 3000 spectators / game. However, it has to be taken into consideration that Slovakia only has 5.5 million inhabitants. The clubs sell their players to financially stronger clubs from western Europe. Examples of players that have succeeded in notable leagues are Marek Hamšík, who is captain of Italian club SSC Napoli, Peter Pekarík who captains Bundesliga side Hertha BSC or Martin Škrtel, a well-known former Liverpool centre-back currently playing for Fenerbahçe. Moreover, over the last few years more and more youngsters have been given chances to perform regularly in the league and as the result, many transfers were to be seen. For example Leon Bailey, Milan Škriniar, Stanislav Lobotka or Samuel Kalu could have been seen playing football at Slovak stadiums recently.
The second tier football league in Slovakia is called 2. Liga and 16 teams compete in it. The third tier league (known as 3. Liga) consists of four divisions of which three (division East, division Middle & division Bratislava) are of 16 teams and the other one (division West) consists of 18 teams.
In 2010, MŠK Žilina became the third Slovak club to participate in the Champions League, where they were eliminated in the group stage.
Slovak Cup is the football cup competition for Slovak club teams. It is organized annually by the Slovak Football Federation (Slovenský futbalový zväz, SFZ). The cup is held since the 1969/70 season, the first winner was the team of Slovan Bratislava. Record winner is Slovan Bratislava with a total of 12 cup victories.
The men's national team has recently been on the move and was able to qualify as a group winner for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. After the Slovak team surprisingly won against the world champions Italy 3-2, the Slovaks also qualified for the knockout stages, where they were elimated after a 2-1 defeat against the eventual finalists Netherlands. The current national coach in Slovakia is Vladimír Weiss. The national team of women is trained by Zsolt Paluszta.
- "Slovakia harnessing women's talent". UEFA.com. 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "Debutant Slovakia will be a surprise package". The Hindu. 2010-05-31. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Grove, Daryl (2010-06-04). "It's soccer vs. hockey in Slovakia | Daryl Grove - Yahoo News". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- Fletcher, Paul (1970-01-01). "Slovakia 3-2 Italy". BBC News. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
- "Slovakia 3-2 Italy | World Cup 2010 match report | Football". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
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