Holosko - Pressure on Azzurri
Slovakia forward says pressure on Italy ahead of crucial clash
Last Updated: June 22, 2010 1:19pm
Holosko: Targeting victory
Slovakia forward Filip Holosko believes the pressure is all on Italy ahead of their crucial Group F match on Thursday.
The world champions go into the game needing to beat Slovakia in order to guarantee progression into the knock-out phases.
But a win for Slovakia coupled with New Zealand taking no more than a point against leaders Paraguay in the other final group game would take Holosko's team through.
Holosko is staying positive ahead of the clash, believing all the pressure is on Lippi's side rather than the World Cup newcomers.
He said: "Italy are under a lot of pressure now, it's supposed to be an easy group for them.
"There is a lot of pressure because they have to qualify but we don't have to, it would just be nice if we did.
"It makes it very difficult for them."
Slovakia go into the game on the back of a 1-1 opening draw with New Zealand, followed by Sunday's 2-0 defeat by Paraguay, in which Vladimir Weiss' side managed just one shot on target.
Holosko, a second-half substitute in both those games, knows that they must improve.
"Of course against Italy we want to have the maximum chances we can and we are very aware of all the mistakes we made," he said.
But on a more positive note, one of the key weapons against the world champions will be Marek Hamsik's inside knowledge as he plays his club football at Serie A side Napoli and faces many of the Italian team week to week.
"We will have a meeting about the Italian style and I'm sure Marek will help us and explain things to us," added Holosko.
"He plays in the Italian league and he will tell us how to play against them."
Hamsik himself was giving little away about what tips he would pass on, saying: "They have a very good defence and are very good tactically. It's difficult for us to reach the next stage but it is possible."
Slovakia striker Martin Jakubko is also expecting a tough encounter on Thursday.
He said: "Italy are a well-known team. They have won the World Cup four times, including last time. That says it all about Italy.
"There are a few national teams who are traditionally strong in these tournaments. Germany, for example. They are used to reaching finals. We are newcomers."