World Cup Qualifying - European - Group F
Slovakia3Scotland0

Slovakia 3-0 Scotland

Robert Mak scores
Robert Mak (far right) scored Slovakia's first two goals of the campaign

Scotland slumped to an emphatic defeat to Slovakia in a calamitous 2018 World Cup qualifier that intensifies the pressure on coach Gordon Strachan.

The Scots - who drew with Lithuania on Saturday - fell behind when Robert Mak netted moments after the visitors felt Steven Fletcher was fouled in Trnava.

Mak sidestepped Russell Martin for the hosts' second before Adam Nemec rose unchallenged to head their third.

Scotland now sit fourth in Group F, three points behind leaders England.

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Scots' form can change - Strachan

Strachan's side - who have finished fourth in their last two qualifying campaigns - also trail Lithuania and Slovenia by a point while Slovakia's first win of the campaign means they have closed to within one of the Scots.

Scotland's next fixture is against England at Wembley on 11 November.

Strachan's big decisions

The starting line-up had a solid look to it once captain Darren Fletcher was passed fit to allow Strachan to combine him in central midfield with the hard-working James McArthur and the artful Barry Bannan.

But despite this trio of central midfielders, Scotland were often caught wide open by a limited Slovakia team.

Neither Celtic youngster Kieran Tierney - starting in place of Scotland's best player at the weekend, Andrew Robertson - nor Callum Paterson were offered enough support defensively from wide midfielders Robert Snodgrass and Matt Ritchie.

But it was the exclusion again of Leigh Griffiths that will garner most attention, the striker - who was lively when he came on - having scored more club goals than either the recalled Steven Fletcher or Griffiths' fellow substitute Chris Martin so far this season.

Strachan might reflect that Griffiths was his only seriously contentious decision but the reality is that his team did not deliver for him at a critical moment, making it questionable whether the campaign is now redeemable.

Gordon Strachan
Strachan's side have four points from three matches in Group F

Defensive woes

Scotland have looked defensively vulnerable in all three games of their Group F World Cup qualifying campaign and that theme continued in Trnava, with Slovakia not having to work hard for their three goals.

There was no relentless pressure on the Scotland goal; instead Strachan's side were undone by a lack of defensive nous and organisation.

Mak was a handful throughout for under-fire central defenders Martin and Grant Hanley, but his goals were scored in isolation rather than following persistent probing by the home side.

When David Marshall pushed Marek Hamsik's header into the middle of the penalty area, Mak was unmarked as he lashed the ball into the net despite nine Scots being back to defend.

The forward's second came when he was granted too much time on the edge of the six-yard box and was able to shift the ball from one foot to the other, leaving Martin flailing helplessly, before slotting home coolly.

Nemec was then left unmarked at a corner for the third when again Scotland had plenty of defenders in attendance.

Strachan can justifiably point to the misfortune of Fletcher being fouled by Jan Durica before the first goal, but that incident occurred just outside Slovakia's penalty area with Scotland on the attack.

For the home side to be then taking the lead by sweeping up the pitch highlighted Scotland's disorderly set-up.

Scotland players
Scotland were too easily opened up in Trnava

Scotland's missing cutting edge

Strachan's side showed they were capable of scoring goals in the last campaign and against Malta in September's 5-1 win, but failed to score against a poor Slovakia side.

While they were composed in possession at times, they found it hard to create clear chances.

Snodgrass was out of sorts - weakly shooting at Matus Kozacik with one of the best opportunities - and Matt Ritchie was reluctant to take on his full-back even when left one-on-one.

The overlapping of Tierney - Scotland's best player in the first half - created openings, but the wrong decisions were always taken with the crosses.

Fletcher awkwardly steered a header off target, as did McArthur, while Griffiths pulled a shot wide when he came on after the break.

Line-ups

Slovakia

  • 1Kozácik
  • 5SaboBooked at 15mins
  • 3Skrtel
  • 4Durica
  • 22Holubek
  • 19Kucka
  • 15Skriniar
  • 21Duris
  • 17HamsikSubstituted forKissat 87'minutes
  • 20MakSubstituted forSventoat 81'minutes
  • 11NemecSubstituted forBakosat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Stetina
  • 6Gregus
  • 8Kiss
  • 9Povazanec
  • 10Bakos
  • 12Novota
  • 13Hrosovsky
  • 14Pauschek
  • 16Salata
  • 18Svento
  • 23Dubravka

Scotland

  • 1Marshall
  • 2Paterson
  • 4Martin
  • 5Hanley
  • 3Tierney
  • 8McArthur
  • 7FletcherSubstituted forGriffithsat 64'minutes
  • 6Bannan
  • 10Snodgrass
  • 9FletcherSubstituted forMcGinnat 76'minutes
  • 11RitchieSubstituted forAnyaat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 12Gordon
  • 13Forrest
  • 14Morrison
  • 15Maloney
  • 16Griffiths
  • 17Anya
  • 18Martin
  • 19Wallace
  • 20Berra
  • 21Hamilton
  • 22McGinn
  • 23Robertson
Referee:
Martin Strömbergsson
Attendance:
11,098

Match Stats

Home TeamSlovakiaAway TeamScotland
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home10
Away10
Shots on Target
Home7
Away4
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home18
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Slovakia 3, Scotland 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Slovakia 3, Scotland 0.

Robert Snodgrass (Scotland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Milan Skriniar (Slovakia).

Ikechi Anya (Scotland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Filip Kiss (Slovakia).

Corner, Slovakia. Conceded by John McGinn.

Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Scotland).

Erik Sabo (Slovakia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Leigh Griffiths (Scotland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Martin Skrtel (Slovakia).

Substitution

Substitution, Slovakia. Filip Kiss replaces Marek Hamsik.

Foul by James McArthur (Scotland).

Marek Bakos (Slovakia) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Kieran Tierney (Scotland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marek Bakos (Slovakia).

Foul by Robert Snodgrass (Scotland).

Milan Skriniar (Slovakia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Barry Bannan (Scotland) left footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Ikechi Anya.

Substitution

Substitution, Slovakia. Dusan Svento replaces Robert Mak.

Corner, Scotland. Conceded by Matús Kozácik.

Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Scotland) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Robert Snodgrass.

Foul by John McGinn (Scotland).

Marek Bakos (Slovakia) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Scotland) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by John McGinn.

Substitution

Substitution, Scotland. John McGinn replaces Steven Fletcher.

Steven Fletcher (Scotland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Martin Skrtel (Slovakia).

Attempt missed. Marek Hamsik (Slovakia) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Marek Bakos.

Substitution

Substitution, Slovakia. Marek Bakos replaces Adam Nemec.

Goal!

Goal! Slovakia 3, Scotland 0. Adam Nemec (Slovakia) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Robert Mak with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Slovakia. Conceded by Callum Paterson.

Attempt blocked. Erik Sabo (Slovakia) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Juraj Kucka.

Attempt saved. Barry Bannan (Scotland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, Scotland. Leigh Griffiths replaces Darren Fletcher.

Substitution

Substitution, Scotland. Ikechi Anya replaces Matt Ritchie.

Hand ball by Grant Hanley (Scotland).

Foul by Robert Snodgrass (Scotland).

Erik Sabo (Slovakia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Slovakia 2, Scotland 0. Robert Mak (Slovakia) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jakub Holubek.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France32105147
2Sweden32105147
3Netherlands31115324
4Bulgaria3102510-53
5Belarus302125-32
6Luxembourg301246-21

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Switzerland33007349
2Portugal3201122106
3Hungary31114314
4Faroe Islands311126-44
5Latvia310214-33
6Andorra300319-80

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Germany33008089
2Azerbaijan32102027
3Northern Ireland31114224
4Norway310245-13
5Czech Rep302103-32
6San Marino300319-80

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia32108447
2R. of Ireland32106337
3Wales31207345
4Austria31116604
5Georgia301224-21
6Moldova3003110-90

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Montenegro32107167
2Poland32107527
3Romania31206155
4Denmark310234-13
5Kazakhstan302127-52
6Armenia300318-70

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1England32103037
2Lithuania31205325
3Slovenia31203215
4Scotland31116514
5Slovakia31023213
6Malta300319-80

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Spain3210111107
2Italy32107437
3Albania32014316
4Israel32015506
5Macedonia300347-30
6Liechtenstein3003112-110

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium3300130139
2Greece33008179
3Bos-Herze32017436
4Estonia310247-33
5Cyprus300307-70
6Gibraltar3003114-130

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia32108177
2Iceland32106337
3Ukraine31206335
4Turkey302135-22
5Finland301235-21
6Kosovo3012110-91
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