Spain v Czech Republic, Monday June 13
Toulouse, Live on ITV, 2pm
Qualification for Spain got off to a fairly rocky start when they lost their second group game to eventual runners up Slovakia in Žilina. That game aside, Spain served up a perfect qualification campaign winning their remaining nine matches and finishing five points clear at the top of Group C.
In the group stages, they won nine games, drew none and lost one, scoring 23 goals, conceding 3 and ending up with a +20 goal difference.
The Czech Republic were the only qualifying nation who didn’t keep a single clean sheet in qualifying and they know that it’s a record they’ll quickly need to improve upon if they’re to make an impact at Euro 2016. Despite these defensive frailties, they did still top their qualification group, which means they are an extremely resilient side and should provide entertainment for the neutrals.
In the group stages, they won seven games, drew one and lost two, scoring 19 goals, conceding 14 and ending up with a +5 goal difference.
Spain are coming into this match as heavy favourites and aside from one blip in qualification they were incredibly strong. They scored in every qualifying match and conceded at the joint-second lowest rate: three goals in 10 games. Interestingly, they were the only side at the finals not to have been drawing at HT during a qualifying match – all their games were settled by half time (9 wins, 1 defeat). The national side, like their brilliant club sides, grab matches by the scruff of the neck and tend to dominate from start until finish.
Despite having Petr Cech in goal, the Czechs conceded at the highest rate of any qualifier: 14 goals in 10 games and they were the second least resilient defences of any qualifier with 6.6 shots faced per goal conceded. Most tellingly, they are the only nation at Euro 2016 who didn’t keep a single clean sheet in qualifying. In an attacking sense only five teams mustered fewer shots than them, this really doesn’t look good!
All signs point to this being the first blow-out of Euro 2016 with Spain winning and winning handsomely.
- Spain to be winning at half time and full time @
- Spain to win both halves @
- Spain to win and 3 or 4 total goals in the match @
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