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Slovakia relieved to keep England at bay, says Kozak

Football Soccer - Slovakia v England - EURO 2016 - Group B - Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne, France - 20/6/16 Slovakia head coach Jan Kozak during the national anthem before the game REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach Livepic
Football Soccer - Slovakia v England - EURO 2016 - Group B - Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne, France - 20/6/16Slovakia head coach Jan Kozak during the national anthem before the gameREUTERS/Kai PfaffenbachLivepic

By Zoran Milosavljevic

ST ETIENNE, France (Reuters) - Slovakia had to dig deep to earn a 0-0 draw against dominant England which kept alive their hopes of reaching the Euro 2016 knockout stages as one of the best third-placed teams, coach Jan Kozak said on Monday.

The Slovakians soaked up intense pressure against a reshuffled England side whose manager Roy Hodgson made six changes to the starting line-up.

"This is not the way we normally play, we are not a destructive team but a top quality opponent kept us on the back foot for most of the match," Kozak told a news conference.

"I expected that kind of pressure from England as they made logical changes to their starting line-up and our players were getting really tired towards the end, hence we were relieved after the final whistle," he added.

"You do all you can to get a good result and we got one today because we needed at least a point to stay in contention for a last-16 berth."

Slovakia finished third in Group B on four points behind Wales and England, meaning they have a very good chance of advancing as one of the best third-placed teams.

Goalkeeper Matus Kozacik, named man of the match, is confident Slovakia will go through.

"I think it's very likely we have done enough to reach the knockout rounds with four points," he said.

"It was very difficult but fortunately we were able to get the point we wanted. There were several situations when England could have scored and the end really couldn't come soon enough."

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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