Slovakia winger Robert Mak admits Slovenia and Scotland doubleheader will have huge bearing on their qualifying hopes



Slovakia winger Robert Mak insists his country’s World Cup qualifying double header against Slovenia and Scotland could make or break their dream of reaching the finals in Russia.

Jan Kozak’s decimated squad travel to Slovenia on Saturday before hosting Gordon Strachan’s side in Trnava on Tuesday evening.

Slovakia, who were beaten by England in their Group F opener, do not have their problems to seek ahead of the two crucial matches. Captain Martin Skrtel is suspended for the weekend, while forward Vladimir Weiss has been dropped from the squad over allegations he was caught drink-driving.

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(Pic: Cyril Venediktov)

Kozak is also without the injured Ondrej Duda,Viktor Pecovský, Peter Pekarík and Norbert Gyömbér.

And Zenit St Petersburg attacking midfielder Mak realises the importance of the upcoming matches in Slovakia’s bid to qualify.

He said: “I think this double header against Slovenia and Scotland will show how our qualification is to develop.

“We have injuries but that happens in football and we must deal with it. The coach has selected players which he believes gives us the best chance in these games.”

Slovakia’s AC Milan midfielder Juraj Kucka, meanwhile, admits Saturday’s clash Ljubljana would be a test regardless of their personnel woes.

He said: “We need to focus and go from match to match. The match in Slovenia will certainly be difficult and we have to prepare well.

“Even if we were at full strength, I would not say that we are the favourites.

“All the matches are now well balanced and Slovenia have a good team, so I can’t say that we’ll definiltey have the upper hand.”