With Czech Republic v England nearly upon us, here’s everything you need to know in Totally Buzzed‘s opinion ahead of the fixture:
History of the fixture:
England lost their last meeting with the Czech Republic as they fell to a 2-1 defeat courtesy of them in October 2019 during a Euro 2020 qualifier. Harry Kane got on the scoresheet for Gareth Southgate’s side in that loss, converting a spot-kick, and has actually scored both times he has faced the Czechs. While the Czech’s got the better of England the last time they met, it’s worth noting in the clash before, which happened in March 2019, Southgate’s side comfortably beat them 5-0, with Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling even racking up a hat-trick in that clash.
This match will decide the winner of Group D, with both sides going into the game on four points after their opening two games. The Czech Republic only need a draw in order to top the group due to their superior goal difference, so the pressure is on England to push for the win if they wish to finish on top, to potentially give them a more favourable draw in the round of 16. Although it could be argued that winning the group would give Southgate’s men the tougher task in the first knockout stage, as the winner of Group D is set to take on the runner-up of Group F, which could end up being Portugal, Germany or even current world champions, France. If England finish runners-up, they’d face the runners-up of Group E – which could mean they clash with Spain, Slovakia, Poland or Sweden dependent on results. Southgate’s side could still finish third in the group if they lose and Scotland win against Croatia with a big enough goal swing, though they would still progress due to being one the four best third-placed teams. In that scenario, England would face the winner of Group E, Spain’s aforementioned group, Netherlands, winner of Group C, or whoever wins B – which will likely be Belgium.
Totally Buzzed’s Predicted Line-Ups:
It’s hard to imagine manager Jaroslav Silhavy making changes to his team ahead of a tough clash with England as his current first-choice side have met expectations. As the old phrase goes – if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. The only players who may be at risk of being dropped are Jan Boril and Lukas Masopust as the pair will miss their next match if they pick up a card against England, but you’d imagine that Silhavy will believe it’s worth risking the pair to ensure his side have the best chance of topping Group D at England’s expense.
The call for Southgate to start Jack Grealish is likely to be answered against the Czech Republic, given that Mason Mount is likely to miss out on featuring in his nation’s final group game of the tournament. After all the Chelsea midfielder is currently self-isolating alongside Blues teammate Ben Chilwell following their interaction with Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour, who was confirmed to have tested positive for Covid-19. While Southgate may opt to keep his three-man midfield intact, Mount was the attack-minded option in the Mount-Kalvin Phillips-Declan Rice trio, so he’ll likely want to ensure his replacement is equally as attack-minded if not more so. Also, it’s worth noting, that with a draw not being good enough for his side to top the group, the manager will surely want his side to look more of an attacking threat than they did against Scotland in their last outing.
Totally Buzzed’s Recommended Line-Ups:
Jadon Sancho is yet to play a minute of the action at Euro 2020 and could be an attacking asset for his side if unleashed on Tuesday. England struggled to find a spark against Scotland and the tricky Borussia Dortmund winger could easily be the creative force that was missing given his skillset. The 21-year-old loves taking the game to his opponents and given he ended the season strongly for Borussia Dortmund, racking up two goals and registering two assists in his side’s last five league games of the 2020/21 campaign, it makes sense he could wow against the Czechs. It would also benefit England if Southgate unleashed Sancho’s Borussia Dortmund teammate Jude Bellingham from the start as the 17-year-old could provide the midfield with a fresh injection of energy, as he has only managed to make a cameo appearance in the tournament so far. Totally Buzzed also recommends having Grealish replace Mason Mount, who’s self-isolating, as the Aston Villa playmaker will hopefully be able to create the chances needed to get Kane off the mark in Euro 2020. It would also be worth bringing Kieran Tripper back into the starting line-up as the full-back loves pushing forward and being an attacking outlet for his side, and after the 0-0 draw with Scotland, the Atletico Madrid man could see England look more dangerous going forward in their next clash.
It’s hard to fault or see much room for improvement for the Czechs, yet with Boril, Masopust, and Adam Hlozek all a booking away from missing the next clash, maybe it’s best to be a little cautious. England will likely push Czech’s defence to their limit, if on form, so Boril is worth risking, yet why take the chance with Masopust? Mateji Vydra replaced the Slavia Prague winger in the final 18 minutes of the 2-0 win over Scotland, so he is a solid replacement option to deploy from the start. Hlozek has been deployed from the bench in both of Czech’s games at Euro 2020 so far and given he is walking a tight rope, there’s no need to tweak the teenager’s role for the clash with England.
Totally Buzzed’s Score Prediction: Czech Republic 1-2 England
Totally Buzzed’s Predicted Scorers: Patrik Schick + Harry Kane x2