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Winners as Czechoslovakia in 1976 with Antonin Panenka’s inventive penalty the winning goal, they’ve been stalwarts of the tournament, and finished as runners-up as the Czech Republic in 1996. Expectations will be much lower this time, and progression out of the group stages seen as a success.
Scotland – Glasgow, Mon, June 13, 2pm
Croatia – Glasgow, Fri, June 18, 5pm
England – London, Tue, June 22, 8pm
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
The Czechs finished comfortably in second behind England in Group A and they also managed a 2-1 home win over the Three Lions, but lost 5-0 at Wembley.
Jaroslav Silhavy is a big name in the Czech Republic, the former national team assistant (2001-2009) holds the record for most appearances in the Czech top division. He had moderate success in club football before becoming national team manager in 2018.
Silhavy prefers a 4-2-3-1 as it gets the most out of Tomas Soucek and Alex Kral in the middle of the park. Kral takes on a more defensive role slowing down and breaking up play which allows Soucek to be a box-to-box threat.
Captain Vladimir Darida will play No 10 or anywhere you tell him, while Sampdoria winger Jakub Jankto will do that out wide. Bayer Leverkusen’s Patrik Schick will lead the line and will be taking penalties.
Patrik Schick of Roma, Leipzig and now Leverkusen is their most important player and is leagues above Michael Krmencik and Matej Vydra.
ONE TO WATCH
Alex Kral of Spartak Moscow will play the same role as Declan Rice for England. The 23-year-old will allow Soucek the positional freedom he needs to be a goal threat. Constantly linked with a move to the Premier League, David Moyes will be keeping a close eye on him as a possible replacement for Rice.
Here’s all the key data on Czech Republic’s squad.
- Squads and statistics correct at time of data sheet creation.
A talented team that has to play two group games away to England and Scotland with the other against the 2018 World Cup runners-up. Top two in the group will be a tough ask, and if they do qualify in third, they’ll be underdogs against whoever they play in the last 16.
The Czechs face England in their last group game, and they’ll be hoping Southgate rests key players like he did against Belgium three years ago after a Last 16 place was secured. If they can get a win there, or anywhere, then there’s a good chance they can qualify as one of the third-best teams.
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