'A shadow of their former selves' - Damien Duff surprised by Slovakia's Euro 2020 collapse
Former Ireland coach Damien Duff admits he's surprised at the collapse of the Republic's Euro 2020 playoff conquerors, Slovakia, at the finals.
But the ex-international says it's a waste of time wondering how Stephen Kenny's side would have fared at the finals in Slovakia's place.
Slovakia, who beat the Republic and Northern Ireland in playoffs to make it to the finals, finished their group with a 5-0 loss to Spain, the joint-biggest defeat at the Euros and were knocked out.
"The Slovakia team are definitely not in a good place, changing their manager after the playoffs, post beating us. Pre the playoff game against Ireland I remember watching all of their games, they went and dominated Wales, dominated good teams all over Europe, and that today was a shadow of their former selves," Duff said on RTE after the loss to Spain. Duff was a member of Kenny's coaching staff at the time of the penalty shootout defeat to Slovakia in Bratislava.
"But for me to say we'd have done better, after Euro 2012 I don't think I should comment. At Euro 2012 against Spain I think I touched the ball four times and we lost 4-0, we never left the edge of our box so I don't think I am best-placed to comment."
In crushing a hapless Slovakia 5-0, Spain set up a last-16 clash against Croatia, after being set on their way by a calamitous own-goal from keeper Martin Dubravka.
Aymeric Laporte headed in a second goal on the stroke of halftime before second-half goals from Sarabia, Ferran Torres and a Juraj Kucka own goal rounded off an emphatic win that saw them finish second in Group E on five points behind Sweden.
Luis Enrique's side will next meet Croatia in Copenhagen on Monday while Slovakia, who came third with three points and a goal difference of minus five, are heading home.