England Czech Republic preview

UEFA EURO 2020 PREVIEW: CZECH REPUBLIC VS ENGLAND, DIRECT SHOOTOUT FOR TOP SPOT IN GROUP D ON MATCHDAY 3

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The group stages are coming to a close and only three out of the total 24 teams have confirmed their berth in the knockout phases. As the final round of group games begin, both Czech Republic and England will fight for the top spot in Group D.

While topping the group stages will definitely help pump the confidence for both teams, the draws are such that the group runner ups will have an easier fixture in the Round of 16. The Group D winner will face the Group F runner ups, one of France, Germany, Portugal and Hungary while the runner ups of Group D will face the Group E runner ups, one of Spain, Sweden, Poland and Slovakia.

 

 

The Wembley Stadium in London will host the exhausting battle that is set to take place on Tuesday, June 22. The teams are tied with four points each in the group, with the Czechs edging over their opponents on goal difference.

The Locomotives have shown great resilience in the previous two fixtures and are on course to reach the knockout stage of Euro 2020. They defeated England’s neighbours Scotland in the opening fixture with a brace from Patrick Schick, including a wonder goal from the halfway line. A hard-fought draw against Croatia, despite taking the lead through a penalty from Patrick Schick, has kept them top of their group, and even a draw against England will keep things as-is for them.

 

 

Jaroslav Silhavy’s side is the predicted winner according to a supercomputer-ran simulation, despite being one of the underdogs. Whether they will be able to realise it or not is yet to be found out.

The Three Lions have had an underwhelming run until now, considering they were one of the favourites to win before the tournament started. The talented English side won a close match against Croatia in the opening fixture, with the only clear goalscoring opportunity they had via Raheem Sterling. The Tartan Army of Scotland foiled their plans to keep a 100% record and fought out a goalless draw while looking the more dangerous side.

 

 

Gareth Southgate still has a bunch of unused players that can be used to pump up the creativity and score more goals, as they have only found the net once in the competition so far.

 

TEAM NEWS

Jaroslav Silhavy will have a fully fit squad to compete against England as his side only needs a draw to confirm their qualification to the knockout phase. The Czechs have made only one change to their lineup in the second game and are more or less going out with the same trusted XI in a 4-2-3-1 formation, that can convert into a 4-5-1 when defending.

 

 

Their goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik was in spectacular form during the first two games that have kept them unbeaten in the tournament.

Czech Republic Probable Lineup: Vaclik; Boril, Kalas, Celustka, Coufal; Soucek, Kral; Jankto, Darida, Masopust; Schick

 

There is no shortage of talent in the squad that Gareth Southgate chose, despite the criticism for excluding a few. There aren’t any major injury concerns, but the England boss has missed two major leadership pillars, Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson in the first two games. They might feature against the Czech Republic.

 

 

Southgate has gone with a 4-3-3 formation contrary to the 3-5-2 that was expected earlier, but he has preferred this shape to accommodate both Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice in the lineup.

England Probable Lineup: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Phillips, Rice, Grealish; Sancho, Kane, Rashford

 

GAME CHANGERS

Patrick Schick is the leading goalscorer in the tournament scoring all three Czech goals, including a stunner from 60 yards against Scotland. He will again pose the biggest threat for the opponent, with his fine finishing and brilliant positioning. Jordan Pickford will be on his toes whenever the Leverkusen striker has the ball at his feet.

 

 

The tall forward is a big aerial threat as well, and England will need to take care of him on set pieces to avoid conceding.

Harry Kane has been quiet for the first two games, contrasting to his domestic season which saw him win the Premier League Golden Boot as well as the Most Assists title despite Tottenham finishing seventh.

 

 

It was a poor display against Scotland as Kane looked almost invisible, but the Spurs forward will look to bounce back and regain his form before the knockout games begin. He will be determined to open his goalscoring account this time around.

 

PREDICTION

England is heavier on the weighing scale in terms of pure talent, but the Czech Republic side has shown great determination to be in the position they are in. It will be an intense battle for sure, but the scoreline might remain stagnant considering the defensive form of both teams.

FootTheBall predicts a 1-1 draw, keeping the Czech Republic as the group leaders.

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