Slovakia manager Pavel Hapal needs to deliver a result against Ireland with growing unrest surrounding his position, according to Slovakian football journalist Lukas Vráblik. 

Hapal has come under intense pressure since they slumped to a 3-1 loss against neighbours Czech Republic and conceded a late equaliser in Israel earlier this month. 

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Thursday's Euro 2020 play-off semi-final offers a chance to swing things around against an Ireland side looking to find their rhythm under new manager Stephen Kenny. 

Appointed in 2018, Hapal has brought through a number of players he coached at U-21 level to complement the established senior players, including star man Marek Hamšík. 

Speaking on the RTÉ Soccer podcast, Vráblik said the feeling is that the 51-year-old is under pressure to at least get to the play-off final. 

"Now it’s time for him to do well in key games, to get to a tournament. If he doesn’t do that, he will be under pressure," he said. 

"The form has been average over the past two years"

"There is a feeling among the media and fans that the time has come to get a result as the form has been average over the past two years." 

The inclusion of former Napoli man Hamšík is a major boost. 

The team captain, record caps holder and top scorer hasn’t played for his country for almost a year, missing last month’s Uefa Nations League double-header due to travel restrictions, with the 33-year-old now based in China with Dalian Yifang. 

"Hamšík is the most important player in the national team. He is a leader and captain," said Vráblik.

"Everything goes through him. The performance of the other midfielders, Stanislav Lobotka of Napoli and former AC Milan player Juraj Kucka, goes up with Hamšík around him. Without him it would have been difficult for everyone else to perform. 

"He is the only world-class player in the Slovakian squad." 

When you look at Slovakian results, I couldn't say they are favourites

Stephen Kenny has suggested that the Slovaks go into the game as slight favourites, though there has been little to choose between the sides in their recent history.

Hamšík has started the four drawn games between the nations since Kevin Doyle’s winner sunk the Slovaks at Croke Park in the first meeting in 2007, but Vráblik doesn’t subscribe to the Irish underdogs angle. 

"No, not at all. I think that is mental tactics [by Kenny]. When you look at Slovakian results, I couldn’t say they are favourites.

"People don’t really expect Slovakia to win. 

"The two teams are comparable in terms of quality. I don’t think there is any clear favourite in this game." 

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