It was in the aftermath of their defeat by Ukraine in Dusseldorf that the first real questions were asked about Slovakia’s approach.

After the sheer joy of defeating Belgium in their opening game — a team ranked 45 places higher — Francesco Calzona’s side blew their half-time lead and lost their game against the Ukrainians.

But Slovakia’s Italian boss came out fighting in defence of a team chasing victory when they knew a draw would have been sufficient.

‘My team try to play football against anyone regardless of the opposition and I’m very proud of that fact,’ Calzona said, defiantly.

That is what England can expect — an adventurous Slovakia side that will play without fear. Even against Romania, knowing that a draw would be enough to secure qualification, Calzona’s men flew out of the blocks.

Slovakia’s Italian boss Francesco Calzona is hoping to pull off a shock win over England

England can expect an adventurous Slovakia side that will play without fear on Sunday

England can expect an adventurous Slovakia side that will play without fear on Sunday

For all of Gareth Southgate’s dilemmas in midfield, Calzona has none with his trio, which includes Napoli’s Stanislav Lobotka. He is integral to their style of play, which involves a solid middle-to-low block when out of possession.

Alongside Lobotka, Ondrej Duda and Juraj Kucka will form the midfield in a 4-3-3 formation. Expect Lobotka to dictate the tempo whenever Slovakia have possession.

That said, England can expect chances going forward. Slovakia have faced 38 shots over their three games. Of the qualified teams, only Georgia’s goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili (20) and Romania’s Florin Nita (13) made more saves than Slovakia’s Martin Dubravka (12).

England have only conceded once and, though Ivan Schranz has scored twice for Slovakia at these Euros, their expected goals tally across their three group games was the second-lowest of the 16 teams who made the knockouts.

But even without a known striker, Slovakia — who have the oldest squad at the tournament — have the ability to cause problems for a struggling England side.

Schranz of Slavia Prague will be a constant threat at the back post, given England’s problems at left back.

Newcastle’s Dubravka will start in goal behind a centre-back pairing of captain Milan Skriniar of PSG and Denis Vavro, who plays for Copenhagen.

At left back, David Hancko, who played under new Liverpool boss Arne Slot as a centre half at Feyenoord, has had a great tournament and has been linked with a Premier League move. But Phil Foden should be licking his lips at at the prospect of facing Peter Pekarik, the 37-year-old right back, down the left flank. It is an area England must target.

Napoli’s Stanislav Lobotka (right) is integral to dictating the pace of Slovakia's attack

Napoli’s Stanislav Lobotka (right) is integral to dictating the pace of Slovakia’s attack

Of the qualified teams, only two goalkeepers have made more saves than Slovakia's Martin Dubravka (12)

Of the qualified teams, only two goalkeepers have made more saves than Slovakia’s Martin Dubravka (12)

England have only conceded once, though Ivan Schranz has scored twice for Slovakia at these Euros

England have only conceded once, though Ivan Schranz has scored twice for Slovakia at these Euros

Already, Slovakia have equalled their best-ever finish at the Euros. For a nation with a population of just five million, defeating England would go down as their most famous win.

After beating Belgium, Calzona was applauded by the Slovakian media in his press conference, where he revealed that he was trying to learn the Slovakian national anthem.

There is a line in it that goes: ‘That Slovakia of ours has been fast asleep so far, but the thunder’s lightning is rousing for it to come awake.’

Under Calzona, they are awake and alive and though they will be underdogs today, his side will genuinely believe they can send England home.

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