Euro 2016

Wales not just about Bale, says Kozak

FBL-EURO-2016-SVK-ARRIVAL Slovakia's head coach Jan Kozak | AFP
  • We respect him, but Wales aren't just about Bale, they have other players who play with top English teams. It's a team game and without his team mates Bale can't be a great threat—Slovakia coach Jan Kozak

Slovakia coach Jan Kozak is refusing to accept that Gareth Bale-led Wales are a one-man team ahead of their Euro 2016 opener, although he is well aware of the forward's threat.

Slovakia make their European Championship bow at Bordeaux in Saturday when they face Wales in their Group B opener, with the Welsh placing their hopes on Bale at their first major tournament since 1958.

"He's a top player," Kozak told a news conference on Friday. "And not just for Wales, he's one of the best in the world.

"I won't go into detail about how we'll deal with him," he added. "We respect him, but Wales aren't just about Bale, they have other players who play with top English teams.

"It's a team game and without his team mates Bale can't be a great threat."

Bale scored seven of Wales' 11 goals during qualification and has just won his second Champions League title since moving to Real Madrid for a world record 85 million pounds ($123 million) three years ago.

"I'm a Real Madrid fan and I watch every match," Kozak added. "I know he's in great form and physically very fit."

However, in midfielder Marek Hamsik, the Slovakians have a player who could rival Bale for top billing.

"He's one of the best in the world," the 28-year-old Hamsik said. "I wouldn't want to compare myself to him.

"It won't just be a match between Gareth Bale and Marek Hamsik. It will be between Wales and Slovakia."

Hamsik will be expected to play a key role for Slovakia, particularly in the absence of 34-year-old Robert Vittek, who scored four goals in the 2010 World Cup but misses out through injury.

"If I could manage to emulate what Robert did in South Africa, I'd be really happy," the midfielder added.

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