2010 FIFA Preview: Slovakia

By RJ Marquez
|  Wednesday, May 19, 2010  |  Updated 4:00 PM CDT
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2010 FIFA Preview: Slovakia

Getty Images

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Peter Pekarik of Slovakia (in blue) slides in to tackle Niall McGinn of Northern Ireland during the FIFA2010 World Cup Qualifier between Northern Ireland and Slovakia at Windsor Park on September 9, 2009 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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SLOVAKIA
FIFA RANK:
38

Any big brother will probably tell you, it stinks when your little brother finally whoops you at something.

I remember growing up, always beating my little brother in Madden, FIFA and NBA video games, and displaying no mercy on him when we played basketball or soccer in the backyard. It was great, but didn't last too long.

He grew up, got bigger, stronger, smarter and now you can spot me 18 points in a game of 21, and he would probably still beat me 21-18.

That's exactly what I think about when I look at the Slovakia national soccer team.

This will be Slovakia's first trip to the World Cup and they made it by winning a tough European qualifying group. But more important to Slovaks, they did it by eliminating the Czech Republic, also known as "big brother." I can feel the Czech's pain.

The family ties don't end there. The head coach, Vladamir Weiss, is a Slovakian legend, and his son Vlad Jr., is making a name for himself. Weiss Jr. is one of the few Slovakian players who plays in a top flight Euro league, and he has the flare and creativity to make an impact in South Africa this summer.

Now that's all good, but it's also this team's possible downfall. Weiss Jr. is only 20 years old. It will be interesting to see if this young Slovakia squad can deal with the pressure of the World Cup.

Most experts don't see Slovakia moving into the second round and I have to agree. But keep in mind, this nation only started playing independent of the Czech Republic 20 years ago, and if I know one thing, you can't keep little brother down for too long.

MATCH SCHEDULE:
June 15  VS. New Zealand - 6:30 a.m. CT (Slovakia must win this match to have any chance of advancing)
June 20  VS. Paraguay - 6:30 a.m. CT (Inexperience meets one of the most experienced sides in South Africa)
June 24  VS. Italy - 9 a.m. CT (Hopefully Italy has already advanced becuase Slovakia doesn't have a shot here if Italy needs points)

NEXT ON THE PITCH: DENMARK

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