As the 2016 Euro 2016 tournament takes shape, dark horses Wales and Slovakia will be facing off in one of the matches of the second day of action in Group B in Bordeaux.
The two sides are not as star studded as the other member of the group – England who have a myriad of stars who ply their trade in what is arguably the best league in the world.
However, the match is still expected to serve its entertainment purpose with notable stars in the sides being Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale in the Wales team and Marek Hamsik of Napoli in the Slovakia team.
Wales face England in their second match in what will pass as the British derby in their second game and definitely know that a win will put them in good footing for the match.
Slovakia on the other hand will be aware of the threat Wales pose and with a threat of their own, they will be keen to get off to a good start and will do so in confidence having had good preps that included beating world champions Germany in a pre tournament friendly match.
A 3-0 loss to Sweden in a pre tournament friendly may have dampened expectations for the Welsh a bit but that could all change with three points in Bordeaux.
On to the key men; Bale will be relied upon for most of the attacks and transition play for Wales after a great season at Real Madrid that not only saw him emerge the highest scoring Brit in Spain but ended with the former Tottenham star winning the Champions League.
Bale scored seven of the team’s 11 goals in the qualifying campaign and assisted two others and the Welsh team will definitely be geared around him.
Hamsik takes on a similarly critical role for Slovakia and has enjoyed one of his best seasons at Napoli as his team pushed Juventus all the way in the battle for the Scudetto.
For his country Hamsik will operate as a number 10 – a goals record of 16 in 81 games suggests he could be a major goal threat from that position.