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Euro 2020 – who is Slovakia’s manager? Everything you need to know about Stefan Tarkovic

Stefan Tarkovic
(Image credit: PA)

Stefan Tarkovic will lead Slovakia at Euro 2020, after being appointed just weeks before the crucial play-off against Northern Ireland.

Former Czech Republic international Pavel Hapal had previously been in charge, but he was sacked after a shock defeat at home to Israel in the Nations League.

As soon as he was in post, Tarkovic’s immediate task was to secure qualification for the Euros by beating Ian Baraclough’s side in a one-off game at Windsor Park.

Slovakia took the lead thanks to Juraj Kucka, but Northern Ireland struck back through a Milan Skriniar own goal late on, taking the match to extra time.

Substitute Michal Duris notched the winner with 10 minutes remaining, firing past Bailey Peacock-Farrell to break the home team’s hearts.

Tarkovic has lost just one of his first six matches as Slovakia manager, also recording victories over Scotland and Russia, who will both be at the Euros this summer.

The 48-year-old has previously worked as part of his country’s youth set-up and acted as assistant manager to Jan Kozak, briefly taking on the top job in a caretaker capacity in October 2018.

In club football, Tarkovic has previously managed MFK Kosice, Tatran Presov and MSK Zilina, each for short periods of time.

This is just Slovakia’s second appearance at a European Championship, having reached the round of 16 in France five years ago.

They picked up four points from beating Russia and drawing with England to set up a knockout tie with Germany, who progressed after a comfortable 3-0 win.

Several of that squad will be involved again this summer, including captain and talismanic midfielder Marek Hamsik, who spent 12 years at Napoli.

Slovakia have been drawn in Group E alongside Spain, Sweden and Poland, with few anticipating that they will progress to the next stage.